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{The right of Translation and all other rights reserved.] 

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I. — Sir Geoffrey's Opixioxs . . . . 1 

U. — Ox THE AVay Home 35 

III.— Sir Geoffrey's Tactics . . . . . 56 

lY.— Laxded 83 

V. — Betweex Wixd axd AVater .... 108 

YI. — The Blackxess of Xight .... 149 

ATI. — Sir Geoffrey's Idea 182 

YIII.— The Trial 202 

IX. — "EvEXTS Arraxge Themselves" . . . 237 

X. — The AYido^'er ^QQ 

XL — A Dog ix the Maxger . . : . . 293 




gIgPPAEEXTLY ]\Ir. Gayre found his 
^p||3ii| subject less easy than it seemed 
at first mention, for, instead of proceed- 
ing to say what he had to say, he 
repeated his former statement in a difierent 

" BeHeve me, I played eavesdropper quite 
unintentionally. It was impossible for me 
to help hearing your conversation." 

" No," answered Susan, varying her mono- 
syllable, but not its sense. " It does not 
matter in the least," she went on, imagin- 
ing Mr. Gayre intended to convey some sort 

Vol. ii. 23 


of apology. " Lai spoke loud enough for 
all the world to hear." 

The banker laughed. "That is quite 
true," he said. " Of course, Miss Drum- 
mond, it would be both impertinent and 
intrusive were I to make any remark on 
Mr. Hilder ton's words. All I want to say 
is— " 

"Don't say anything hard about poor 
Lai," she interrupted. " He is trying at 
times ; but so few people understand him." 

"I think I do." 

" No, indeed, you cannot. Even to-night, 
for instance — " and then Lai's champion 
paused suddenly. 

" Even to-night, for instance ? " repeated 
Mr. Gayre, with quiet suggestiveness. 

" I dislike half sentences, and yet I 
cannot finish mine," said Susan. "I may 
tell you this much, however," she added, 
" that the day's festivities have tried his not 
particularly equable temper a good deal. 


After all, if you think over the position, 
it cannot be pleasant for a poor man who 
does possess genius to mix amongst people 
incapable of recognising genius till it is 
successful ! " 

" You bring me to the very point I 
wanted to reach," replied the banker. "I 
wish to help Mr. Hilderton to make the 
genius he undoubtedly possesses profitable ; 
but I scarcely know how to set about the 
matter. He is a little ' difficult.' " 

" Not a little— very," amended Susan. 
"So difficult, that I really sometimes fail 
to see how even his best friends are to 
put him in the straight road for fortune." 

" I am quite willing to try, if you assist 
me with a few hints. Knowing the 
interest — the great interest — you take in 
Mr. Hilderton's future^ it would give me 
the sincerest pleasure to aid him by any 
means in my power." 

" I certainly like Lai," answered Susan 



slowly, struck by something in her com- 
panion's tone^ — something implied which she 
instinctively felt she ought to show him 
she understood — " very much indeed ; both 
for his own sake, and on account of old 
times ; but — " 

" I suppose one cannot expect a young 
lady to say more," Mr. Gayre observed, 
almost as if by way of inquiry. 

" I hope, Mr. Gayre, you do not imagine 
for a moment — *' 

"What, Miss Drummond?" 

" That I care for Mr. Hilderton except- 
ins: as a friend? A dear friend, of course ; 
but one who could never by any possibility 
be more to me." Susan was a little angry, 
and spoke with a plain decision no man 
could really have misinterpreted. 

Mr. Gayre did not, at all events, though 
it suited his purpose to ask. 

" And why should I not imagine he 
might some day be more to you ? " 


" Because," she answered, " I thought you 
knew me better." 

Just for a moment there came a wild 
temptation over him to say he did, to cast 
his arms around her and strain her to his 
heart, and then and there, under the silent 
stars, with lights gleaming through the 
open windows above, and music floating 
down to where they stood, tell the tale of 
how love in middle age had come to him, 
and made life all beautiful and good and 
sweet, since a certain May day, when for the 
first time he saw, in Hyde Park, Susan 
Drummond's fair dear face calmly watching 
the antics of Squire Temperley's hunter. 

But he was prudent ; he did know her 
so well that he felt sure, if the faintest 
consciousness of liking him over-much had 
entered her mind, those charming lips would 
never have spoken the words which filled 
his heart with such delight. He would 
wait ; he would not frighten, even by a 


gesture, this innocent, fearless, winsome 
bird, which seemed incUned to flutter 
towards him and settle on his hand. 

"To be quite candid," he answered, and 
in his voice there was no trace of the 
strong constraint he put on his speech, " I 
thought I did know you better. It was aa 
idea which would never have entered my 
own mind ; but Mrs. Jubbins felt so sure, 
so satisfied — " 

" Dear, kind Mrs. Jubbins," murmured 
Susan. " She has indeed been good to 

" Then there is really nothing in the 
affair ? " 

" Nothing whatever ; nothing on either 
side," she said eagerly, yet with pretty 
confusion. " Still, none the less, Mr. Gayre, 
you will help him, won't you ? " 

None the less ! If she could only have 
read his soul she would have understood 
all the more — a thousand times the more. 


" I will do my best, my very best for 
him," answered the banker earnestly ; " but 
you must help me, Miss Drummond. You 
vill teach me how to sfive him hints and 
avoid offence." 

" Not a very easy task," she declared ; 
" but I will try to teach you the geography 
of that very strange country, Lionel Hilder- 
ton's mind ; that is to say, so far as I 
may," she added, with an unintentional 
significance. " And now you must not say 
r am like a child who does not know what 
it wants if I ask you to take me in again. 
I feel as much too cold as I did too warm 
ten minutes ago. The night air out here 
is chilly." 

" Wrap your shawl closer around you," 
said Mr. Gayre anxiously. " I am afraid 
you are not well. You have been over- 
exciting yourself." 

" Perhaps I have a little," she agreed ; 
" but that is nothing, and I feel so much 


happier, so very much happier, since we 
talked about Lai. I do not know how to 
thank you enough ; I do not indeed." 

Mr. Gayre could have told her ; but once 
again he refrained. Who would wilhngiy, 
even for reality, break the soft spell of 
such a dream as the man then revelled 

" And so," to change the subject, he 
said, looking up at The Warren, " you 
think Love would not be a suitable tenan: 
for Lady Merioneth's cottage ? " 

"Well, you see," explained Susan, leaning 
a little on his arm as they ascended the 
slope, her head bent somewhat back, her 
eyes scanning the long terrace and the 
brilliantly-lighted windows, " the poets, so 
far as I can remember, have never yet 
represented Love as a Millionaire." 

" What do you think of Mr. Sudlow as 
combining both characters ?" 

" I may be wrong," she answered, " but 


I fancy he feels his position as a rich man 
too much to act the part of Cupid very 

" And yet he is deeply smitten with my 

" So I see," Susan agreed ; and they 
proceeded a dozen steps. or more in silence. 

They were slowly ascending towards the 
house. Mingling with the tones of the 
music they could hear the voices of those 
guests who were pacing to and fro, or 
standing upon the terrace. Xow there 
came to them the curious, muffled, yet 
continuous noise produced by a hundred 
light feet skimming over pohshed floors — a 
moment more and they were able to 
catch glimpses of the dancers themselves. 
Soon it would be all over, that brief time 
spent in paradise, which Mr. Gayre knew 
he should never, while life lasted, forget. 
Involuntarily, almost, he slackened his 
already tardy steps, and said, 


" Do not walk so fast, Miss Drummond. 
You are tired." 

'' Fast !" she repeated ; " slow, rather, even 
for a snail ;" at the same time, however, 
following his example, while she turned a 
thoughtful dreamy face towards the gleam- 
ing lights and the laughing groups, and 
the flitting figures as they appeared and 
disappeared within the rooms. 

" If you could choose your lot in life," 
asked the banker, breaking in upon her 
reverie, " what would it be ?" 

" You ask a very strange question," said 
Susan, turning towards him a glance 
eloquent in its wistful astonishment. 

" Do I ? And yet one I should imagine 
easily answered. We all have, or have 
had, I suppose, our dreams of what we 
should Hke life to prove. K some en- 
chanter put it into your power to-night to 
select your path, w^here would you have 
it lie ? Across the hill-top or winding 


among lowly valleys? Should you select 
to be rich and great, or humble and out 
of the battle? Perhaps, hke Agur, of 
whom we are told so very little, you 
would pray for a happy mean ? " 

"I don't think I should," she replied. 

" What would you ask for, then ? " he 
persisted. " Wealth, power, love, genius ? " 

She shook her head. 

"Is it that you will not tell me, or 
that, never having thought the question 
out previously, you are unable to decide ? " 

"I never have thought about the matter 
before," she said. " Still, I fancy I know 
what I should most wish to be able to do." 

"And that is—?" 

" You must not laugh, Mr. Gayre, if I 
tell you — I could not bear you to laugh." 

" On my honour, I won't laugh, no 
matter how extraordinary your desire may 

"I should wish, then — " 


" Yes, Miss Drummond ? " for she stopped 
and hesitated. 

" To be able to make the best of what- 
ever lot was appointed for me. If I were 
wise I know I should not ask for riches, 
or competence, or happiness, or talent, or 
renown ; but simply that I might have 
strength and wisdom given me to be, not 
merely content in the state of life assigned 
but to make a 'good thing of it,' as Sir 
Geoffrey would say." And for a moment, 
in the starlight, Mr. Gayre could see a 
smile wreathe Susan's lips and chase away 
the grave shadows that had seemed to 
change the whole expression of her tender 
lovely face. 

For a moment the banker was startled 
— actually startled. He had long felt the 
girl's daily life and practice to be a lay 
sermon ; but he was scarcely prepared for 
such a confession of faith as that involved 
in the words she uttered. Just at first 


he did not understand, even dimly, what 
she meant, and days and weeks and 
months, and even years, were destined to 
pass before the man thoroughly compre- 
hended youth in its ignorance may 
conceive a simple and sublime ideal that 
shall yet, with tears and struggles, with 
sorrow and pain, eventually impress some- 
thing hke the image of Divinity upon 
broken and contrite hearts, or souls worn, 
weary, and buffeted by the billows of 
temptation, by the agony of remorse ! 

Had he only known it, he was standing 
then under the starlight side by side with 
his better angel. Yet the world and the 
things of the world left him without other 
answer to her words than the question, 

"Are you a fatahst. Miss Drummond? 
Do you believe we cannot even rough-hew 
the marble of our lives ? " 

" I believe," she answered, " that as we 
cannot forecast the events of the next 


twenty-four hours, as we are unable to tell 
in the morning what may occur before 
night, ' free will ' resolves itself into whether 
we shall be good or bad children in our 
school and playtime. Fact is, Mr. Gayre," 
added Susan, with a gaiety which had a 
touch of underlying sadness, "I have been 
enjoying life too much lately, and so I 
want to prepare myself to bear the dark 
days bravely when they come — as come 
they must." 

" You add the Spirit of Prophecy to the 
Voice of the Preacher, Miss Drummond." 

" Thank you for listening to the words of 
both so gravely," answered Susan ; and as 
she spoke she would have taken her hand 
from his arm, and turned to enter the 
house by a glass door opening on a corridor 
which split the cottage in twain, and gave 
egress to all the reception and some of the 
principal bed rooms, had not Mr. Gayre 
detained her 


" Indeed, indeed," he said, " I meant no 
sarcasm. I feel there is truth underlying 
your words, though I confess I do not 
exactly comprehend them. Why should 
you, in your sunny youth, talk so wisely 
concerning dark days ? Why should you 
from whom all true men would keep 
even the knowledge of sin and trouble, 
imagine it could ever prove necessary for 
you to ' make the best of your lot in 
life ? ' " 

" Because I have known sorrow, and am 
certain I shall know more ; besides, Mr. 
Gayre, even if such a thing were possible, 
I should not like to live a perfectly pros- 
perous and easy life. One ought to see 
both sides." 

" True daughter of Eve, you want to 
pluck of the tree of the knowledge of good 
and evil ! I really cannot recollect ever 
having heard you take so despondent a 
view of life before. Is it Mr. Hilderton's 


poverty, or Mr. Sudlow's plenty, or this gay 
and festive scene, which causes you to 
regard existence as so utterly gloomy an 
afiair ? " 

She did not answer for a moment. 
Somehow, as he paused and listened, he 
felt rather than heard she was catching a 
sobbing breath; then just as it seemed he 
could contain himself no longer, as if he 
must pour forth the full torrent he had so 
long restrained, she said, with a little touch 
of her usual vivacity, 

"There are some people, you know, Mr. 
Gayre, in whom the spectacle of a crowd 
induces a far greater melancholy than the 
sight of a single corpse. Especially if the 
corpse has had anything to bequeath. Well, 
in a different way that is my case to-night. 
I suppose it is only because I am so tired 
that I project myself (that is a good word) 
to a time when not merely in those now 
brilliantly lighted rooms there won't be a 


single guest, but when I myself, Susan 
Drummond, shall feel 

" Like one who treads alone 
Some banquet-hall deserted." 

Forgive me, ^Ir. Gayre ; ah, I did not 
mean to make you gloomy too. I am 
going to Mrs. Jubbins ; I want to ask her 
a favour." And with a smile she left him 
at the porch, and crossing the wide hall 
made her way to the inner drawing-room, 
from which a few days previously had 
proceeded the speech that struck Deputy 
Pettell dumb. Following close upon her 
Mr. Gayre saw the girl glide behind the 
easy-chairs and lounges where dowagers sat 
fanning themselves, and exchanging weighty 
confidences concerning household matters, 
and the perfections- of their children, till 
she reached Mrs. Jubbins, standing near 
one of the windows talking to Mr. Brown, 
who felt even his great mansion at Walton- 
on-Thames shrink into insignificance beside 

Vol. ii. 24 


Lady Merioneth's "little box," into which, 
by a mere freak of Fortune, the widow had 
walked as " coolly and unconcernedly as if 
she were as intimately acquainted with 
noblemen's houses as with the old place in 
Brunswick Square." For a minute Susan 
stood quietly waiting, her face white as her 
dress, and a far-off yearning expression in 
those soft tender brown eyes the banker 
had never seen before. Then suddenly 
Mrs. Jubbins turning became aware of her 
presence. Whatever Susan's request, it was 
evidently granted with pleasure. The hostess 
touched the fair cheek with her fan, lin- 
geringly, lovingly. Mr. Gayre could have 
blessed the buxom Eliza for that graceful 
caress. Then as Miss Drummond, threading 
her way back as dexterously as she had 
come, passed through the archway into the 
long drawing-room, where dancing, was in 
progress, Mrs. Jubbins made some remark 
to the Walton-on-Thames Croesus the banker 


knew had kindly reference to his niece's 

Still standing by the door, he saw Susan's 
white dress flitting down the corridor. It 
went on and on, past the hall, past the 
dining and morning and billiard rooms, past 
the library and the state bed-chambers ; 
finally disappearing down a passage at right 
angles with the main gallery. Through the 
music, through the tip-tapping of the dancers* 
feet, through the buzz of conversation, and 
the clatter of plates, and popping of corks 
in the supper-room, he heard the closing 
of a distant door, and Susan Drummond did 
not again that night bless his sight. 

What could have gone wrong ? What 
was the matter with her? He waited and 
waited for her re-appearance, but waited 
in vain. All the guests who wished to catch 
the last train had gone. Weary chaperons 
were casting stern and reproachful glances 
at girls who persisted in just one dance 



more, one more still ; even Mrs. Jubbins' 
prosperous face began to show signs of 
wear and tear. Amongst the musicians a 
man fell out occasionally to rest. The 
hours had told on the waiters, some of 
whom looked limp as to their cravats, and 
dishevelled about the head. Still the young- 
people went on dancing fresh and gay, as 
though the party were just beginning ; but 
Susan came not, and Mr. Gayre's anxiety 
and curiosity concerning what had become 
of her grew all the more intense, because 
he did not wish to ask any questions con- 
cerning the missing guest. 

With discontented and cynical eyes he 
was looking at his niece as she floated to 
the melody of a ravishing waltz round one 
of the ball-rooms, pioneered by that capti- 
vating sinner Graceless, when one of the 
old Bloomsbury set, a contemporary of 
Mr. Jubbins, who had scores of times 
religiously played out rubber after rubber 


of whist in Brunswick Square, accosted 

" Xot dancing, Gayre ? " began this 
individual, who was the human embodiment 
of snow in harvest ; " leaving it for the 
juniors? You're right — no fool like an old 
one, you know! Well, and what do you 
think of all this P Tilings were different in 
my day, and in yours too, for that matter, 
It is enough to make Jubbins turn in his 
grave. If your wise father had been alive 
we'd have seen nothing of this sort. He'd 
have read madam a lecture. There are 
people here whose names would not be 
thought much of across a bill-stamp, eh ? 
You've come to look after your niece, I 
suppose I Handsome girl I doesn't take 
after your side of the house, at any rate. 
It is astonishing though, how hard it is to 
get men to marry beauties. They fight shy 
of them when it comes to that, and I am 
sure I don't wonder at it. 


" Have you had any supper ? I give 3^ou 
my solemn word I could not get a mouth- 
ful fit for any Christian man to eat till a 
quarter of an hour ago, when I seized the 
butler and made him bring me a cut of 
cold beef out of the larder, and a pint of 
draught ale. I know their draught ale of 
old. Jubbins always dealt with Flowers, 
and she keeps up the charter. 

" I shall be glad to be at home and in 
my bed, and I daresay you wiU, too. It is 
hard upon you, just when you must be 
beginning to feel you want rest and quiet, 
having that girl on your hands. However, 
Mrs. Jubbins will perhaps help you to get 
her off. She played her own cards so 
remarkably well, I daresay she can put 
your niece up to a thing or two. 

" And so it was you looked out this fine 
place for the widow, eh ? You know the 
sex ! Give women their way about finery, 
and fashion, and folly, and you may lead 


them where you like by the nose. You're 
a sly dog, Gayre! Not a bad sort of peg 
this to hang up your hat on for life, though 
the money that pays the rent was made 
out of dirty oil. You're a sly dog!" 

Having emphasised which pleasant utter- 
ance with an evil chuckle and a dig in the 
ribs, the old friend of the family took 
himself off, leaving Mr. Gayre speechless 
with indignation. 

" You look as if you had lost a shilling, 
and not found even sixpence," said Sir 
Geoffrey, at this juncture taking up a 
position beside his brother-in-law. The 
Baronet was just beginning really to en- 
joy the evening. He had drunk himself 
sober, if such an apparent paradox is in- 
telligible. It was a way Sir Geoffrey had, 
or rather, as he frequently explained, a 
way his constitution had. At the first 
start, when he began his libations — if 
that, indeed, could be said ever to begin 


wliicli was only suspended by sleep — strong 
liquors did apparently produce an effect 
faintly simulating intoxication ; but as 
time went on, these evidences of a weak 
brain disappeared totally. 

" Fact is," said Sir Geoffrey, " drink 
steadies me." He spoke of it as a sea- 
faring person might of ballast. He did 
not roll when he had his due complement 
aboard, and he was extremely ingenious in 
accounting for the extraordinary pheno- 
menon, that the more champagne, or 
brandy, or " whatever was going " he 
swallowed, the soberer he became. 

" It is hke this, you know," he declared : 
'• every family, I take it, must, in the 
course of a few generations, drink a certain 
amount ; I daresay statistics could get at 
the amount. Well, then, don't you see, if 
three or four of the lot fail to take their 
fair share, there must at last come some 
poor devil of a scapegoat like myself, who 


has to drink for the lot. I call it hard, 
deuced hard ! I am sure, even on the 
score of expense, I'd like to live on tea 
and lemonade ; but Lord ! when you've a 
constitution like mine to deal with, what 
are you to do ? " A question so abstruse 
and so impossible to answer, that nobody 
tried to grapple with the difficulty presented 
by the singular nature of Sir Geoffrey's in- 
ternal ^arrangements. 

In a state then of steadiness and com- 
prehension a teetotaller might have envied, 
Sir Geoffrey, seeing Mr. Gayre part com- 
pany with the Bloomsbur}^ friend, sauntered 
across and made that remark anent the 
banker's shilling and sixpence expression 
of face. 

Desirous, no doubt, of emulating the 
little busy bee. Sir Geoffrey lounged about 
the rooms, affably entering into conversa- 
tion with utter strangers, and, indeed, help- 
ing to do the honours for Mrs. Jubbins, as 

26 5 us jy DB UMMOND. 

he might had Lady Chelston gone to a 
better world, and the widow and himself 
been engaged. Now and then, in this 
chance ride across country, he met with a 
crushing retort or a nasty fall ; and from 
experience, he knew pretty well what 
' the crusty, white-haired, and red-nosed old 
party had been saying to Gayre.' " 

" Deuced mixed lot this," he observed, 
with a solemn shake of his knowing head. 
" I thought I'd seen a thing or two during 
the course of a life which has not been 
wholly spent in the quiet country ; but 
hang me if I ever could have imagined 
such a set out as this ! " 

" It must, indeed, seem a change to you 
to find yourself among so many solvent 
and respectable people," retorted Mr. Gayre, 
who was glad to vent his irritation on any 

" That's right, pass the blow round, my 
lad ! It does not hurt me," said the 


Baronet. "Solvent?" he went on, looking 
about him, " no doubt of that ; but respect- 
able ? h'm — m — m ! I notice some folks 
here who, unless I am greatly out in my 
reckoning, have sailed uncommonly close 
to the wind. But then their haul was ten 
thousands, or hundreds of thousands, which 
makes all the difference, Gayre, all the 

" The whole thing is a confounded bore," 
remarked his brother-in-law, who did not 
feel inclined at that moment to take up 
the cudgels for trade morality. 

" Peggy's having the fun of the fair," 
observed that young lady's parent. " I 
don't think she has sat out one dance, 
and I have seen her send away would-be 
partners by the dozen. Lord, what a sly 
jade it is! How does she do it? Just a 
modest downcast look, and an uplifted 
appealing look, or the slightest turn of the 
shoulders, or an indolent movement of her 


fan, and she has all the men about her. 
I have been watching her, and wondering. 
It is extraordinary. That sort of thing 
would not attract me ; but it seems to 
suit other people. It is not my style." 

"Xo, I don't think it is," agreed Mr. 
Gayre, who knew too weU the type of 
frisky and frolicsome young lady the 
Baronet delighted in. 

"But she's a splendid girl," proceeded 
Sir Geoffrey; "just look at her now. 
Faith, in that dress — I wonder how much 
the bill for it will tot up to? — she resem- 
bles nothing except some rare tropical 
bird. Gad ! what a splendid colour she 
has to-night, just like the inner leaves of 
a damask rose ! And her feet — there is 
not a woman in the room has such a foot 
and ankle ; all the Chelstons had good 
feet. Poor Margaret had pretty feet too, 
though a trifle low in the instep. Seriously 
now, Gayre, don't you think it's a thou- 


sand pities Peggy should be thrown away 
on mere wealth? She'd make a capital 
countess, and even as a duchess she would 
only be the right thing in the right 

"Well, if you know any stray earl or 
duke in want of a wife, you might 
mention the matter to him," suggested 
Mr. Gayre. 

"I declare the more I see of Peggy 
the less I feel I can bear the notion of 
her being wasted on such a fellow as 
Sudlow. Why, he's a perfect cad, and a 
stick in addition. He can't skate, and he 
can't ride, and he can't dance, and he 
can't shoot ; what the deuce can he do ? " 

"Take care of his money," answered the 
banker ; " and all I hope is he may give 
her a chance of helping him to take care 
of it also." 

"Well, I suppose we must make the 
best of a bad business," said Sir Geoffrey, 


with religious resignation ; "I am sure I 
try to do so. I gave her a hint or two 
before we came here ; I told her she 
must not neglect her opportunities. The 
worst of her is she's such a flirt, always 
was, always will be ; I don't mean in any 
dangerous way — bless you, no ! She'll 
take good care to get into no harm ; I 
could trust Peg anywhere, trust her as I 
could myself ; " which, indeed, was say- 
ing so little for the charming Peggy's 
discretion, that Mr. Gayre had to turn 
away his face and hide a smile. "I wish 
she'd some female relations up in all that 
sort of thing," proceeded Sir Geoffrey, with 
an easy wave of his hand, indicating that 
he meant the art of securing eligible 
husbands, "just to give her a chance; 
she wants training. Heavens ! well schooled, 
she might marry whom she pleased. It's 
no use thinking of what's past ; but if 
her poor mother — " 


At which juncture the Baronet stopped 
and sighed, and shook his head and 
sighed again. 

" Out of the fulness of your own abun- 
dant experience," suggested Mr. Gayre^ 
" don't you think you might advise your 
daughter for her good — tell her how to 
set about the great sport of hunting 

" No, my dear fellow," answered the 
Baronet, who, if he imagined his brother- 
in-law was sneering at him, took care not 
to seem cognisant of the fact. " In the 
first place, to be truly successful, it should 
be pursued as a business, not a sport ; and 
in the next, only a woman can really teach 
a woman how to deal with the other sex. 
If a man, now — yourself, for instance — stood 
in want of a few tips, couldn't I give 
them? and wouldn't I, with pleasure? But, 
bless my soul, your running is all straight 
enough. Here are you, and there's the 


widow ; you've only to say ' Come,' and 
she'll come fast enough, and why the 
deuce you don't say it baffles me." 
" I must request. Sir Geoffrey — " 
"0 yes, I know all about that; but re- 
quests don't alter cases, and though you 
may insist on people shutting their mouths, 
you can't compel them to close their eyes. 
Well, she's as pleasant and hospitable a 
• woman as I'd ever desire to meet, and I 
will say she, or somebody for her, has a 
judgment in the matter of wine I wish 
were universal. You'll weed out a lot of 
these people, no doubt," and he nodded 
towards the room where what he called 
the "old fogies" were "playing at company." 
"Poor soul, she knows no better; but you'll 
teach her, Gay re — you'll teach her; and — 
she'll make an apt pupil ; " having delivered 
which last opinion, the Baronet was turn- 
ing away, probably to quite assure his 
mind as to whether Mrs. Jubbins' brandy 


was as good as her hock, when, inspired 
by a fresh idea, he paused to ask, 

"By-the-bye, where's Susan? I haven't 
seen the httle baggage for ages. She 
looked a bit bleached, I thought, a while 
ago ; wonder where she's got to ? There's 
Lai Hilderton, face, as usual, black as 
a thunder-cloud. No doubt he knows. 
Hilderton — Lai — come here, can't you ! 
Where's Susan?" 

"Haven't seen her for an hour or more." 

" Where the deuce can she be ? " re- 
marked Sir Geoffrey. " How are you 
going to get back to your ' diggins ' 
to-night, Lai?" 

" Irish tandem," was the curt reply. 

" Come and have something, then, to 
give your horses spirit for the journey," 
said the Baronet, taking the young man's 
reluctant arm, and leading him tenderly 
towards the supper-room. 

Where was Susan? where could she be? 

Vol. ii. 25 


Miss Clielston did not know ; for, pausing 
with Mr. Graceless close to where Mr. 
Gayre stood, she propounded the very- 
question to her uncle he was longing to 
hear answered by some one. 

" She is not going back to town to-night.," 
said Mrs. Jubbins, appearing at the mo- 
ment Margaret was prettily expressing her 
wonder and astonishment. " She is tired ; 
she has been doing too much, and I've 
sent her to bed." 

For a second Miss Chelston looked at 
the speaker with incredulous surprise; then, 
seeing the hostess was not jesting, she 
pressed her fan against her chin, puckered 
her forehead, raised her eyebrows, mur- 
mured, " I am so sorry," and next moment 
the maize dress, with its splashes of colour, 
was whirling amongst the dancers, a dream 
of beauty and delight. 



|00R Susan! poor, dear, kind, tire- 
some Susan!" lamented Miss Chel- 
ston. "These are the sort of things she 
always would do. Almost kill herself to 
please people* who scarcely considered it 
worth their while to say thank you ; always 
ready to wear herself out for anybody." 

" I call the whole proceeding extremely 
silly, to say the least of it," observed 
Mr. Sudlow. 

" Do you ? " said Mr. Gayre. 

"Yes, I do," retorted Mr. Sudlow, in 
a tone intended to convince young Grace- 
less he was out of the banker's leading- 
strings at last. 



"And what," said Mr. Gayre, "should 
you call the proceeding, if you said the 
most of it ? " 

"That's a question I decline to answer," 
answered the gentleman tersely styled " the 
cad " by Sir Geoffrey ; hearing which 
valiant reply, Mr. Graceless burst out laugh- 

They were all driving back to London 
together — Miss Chelston, Messieurs Sudlow, 
Graceless, and Gayre — with Sir Geoffrey 
on the box ; three of the 'party in ex- 
tremely bad temper, and one not too 
well pleased at finding himself booked as 
inside passenger for a fourteen miles' 
journey, unable to smoke, and thrown on 
the companionship of two men and a 
girl, with none of whom he had an idea 
in common. 

As for Miss Chelston, she felt most truly 
it was the day after the fair. Such triumph 
as she had compassed was over, and her 

ox THE WAY HOME. 37 

triumph could not, in such an assemblage, 
be considered great. Amid better surround- 
ings, her beauty, her figure, her grace, her 
manner, her voice, must have placed her on 
a high rung of the social ladder ; but upon 
the City magnates she was thrown away. 
The old men regarded her merely as a good- 
looking girl without a fortune, who ,no 
doubt, knew more about spending money 
than saving it ; while their sons felt some- 
what shy of a Baronet's daughter whose 
ways and looks and tones seemed different 
from the ways, looks, and tones of belles 
renowned in civic circles. She was the right 
thing among the wrong set of people. She 
had striven her best to please ; she had 
smiled on the sons of prospective Lord 
Mayors ; she had, in her quiet undemonstra- 
tive way, flirted with wealthy young stock- 
brokers and rising junior partners in great 
City houses ; she had borne herself meekly 
towards large and portly mammas, and 

38 susjy DRUMMOyn. 

refrained from looking amazed at the 
doings of Cockney heiresses ; and yet, 
when the sum of the day and evening 
was told, she felt her talents had not 
returned her even fair interest. If Mrs. 
Jubbins' party represented the best her 
uncle could do for her socially, bad indeed 
was the best. She had only really felt 
herself in a proper element while dancing 
with one or other of the "fellows" Sir 
Geoffrey offered as his graceful contribution 
to the Chislehurst festivities ; and as she 
knew too well what they were, and what 
they had, and that each of them Avas 
looking out for a flat, or an heiress, or 
both, on his own account, it goes without 
saying that even in the dehcious curves 
of that final waltz with Mr. Graceless 
she was perfectly well aware nothing could 
over come of such an acquaintance, save, 
perhaps, if hereafter she got into a safe 
and unexceptionable clique, a little regret 


at ever having known so polished and 
presentable a blackleg. 

With the result of the day's proceedings 
Mr. Gayre felt, if possible, more dissatisfied 
than his niece. He had arrived at the con- 
clusion that he did not understand Susan 
in the least ; that she would require more 
careful management than he anticipated ; 
that below her sweet amiability and charm- 
ing frankness there lay a depth of character 
and a power of will, both of which it 
might be necessary to gauge and to con- 
cihate. Time was when he thought he 
knew her thoroughly ; day by day it was 
dawning upon him he really knew her less. 
The old qualities which had so captivated 
him on first acquaintance remained un- 
changed, but fresh and unexpected qualities 
were, in addition, constantly appearing. 
She was like a garden which a man first 
values for the sake of a few simple and 
homely flowers almost gone out of fashion. 


and behold, as the days go by, other plants 
thrust their tender leaves above ground, 
and he is kept in a constant state of un- 
certainty as to the manner of blossom 
which shall next appear. 

As an acquaintance, even as a friend, per- 
haps she had drawn nearer to him ; but as 
a lover, no. Mr. Ga}Te was too sensible a 
man, far too well learned in the lore of a 
world which contains both men and women, 
to bhnd himself to facts. Before he knew 
Susan Drummond he would have laid it 
down as a general proposition that all 
women were enigmas. Since he had known 
Susan he would have done battle on the 
point that he was acquainted with one 
woman who wore her heart on her sleeve ; 
but now — now — now — Mr. Gayre could not 
exactly tell what to think. Leaning back 
in his corner, he felt sorely tempted to 
speedily put his fortune to the test, and 
" maybe," he considered, " lose it all." 

ox THE WAY HOME. 41 

sweet Susan, sleeping that night among 
the Chislehurst woods, dreaming your maiden 
dreams in the house where noble lovers had 
kissed and been blessed, had wept and been 
parted till eternity, how was it possible for 
you to imagine a middle-aged man's heart 
was being rent because he failed to read 
aright your simple sincerity? 

He felt wild to know his hands held no 
prize the girl seemed to account of value. 
Wealth, rank, jewels, pleasure, idleness — the 
five curses and snares of womanhood — she 
held, apparently, of no worth whatever. 
What did her youth long for, his middle age 
could give? Xowhe was beginning to under- 
stand her better, he saw Susan was prepared 
to sit down to the feast of life with a purpose 
of abstinence for which he could find no 
possible reason. She loved riding, dancing, 
society, travelling. Even to the simplest 
excursion she brought a zest and a sunshine 
he had never seen equalled. Yet he fully 


understood she expected at some not 
remote day to resign all cliance of such 
pleasures, and live quietly at Enfield with 
her aunt. 

" I mean to grapple with the mysteries of 
farming next year," she said to Mr. Gayre one 
day. " I don't think I could serve my 
country better than in trying to solve the 
problem of how to make land pay. Aunt 
cannot. I see where she goes wrong ; but 
that is quite another matter from seeing how 
I am to go right." 

" I will come over and help you," offered 
Sir Geoffrey. " I know all about farming. 
If my tenants would only have followed my 
advice I need never have left Chelston. Now 
they have got another landlord they wish, I'll 
be bound, they had considered me a little 
more. Do you remember, Susan, the talks 
your uncle and I used to have about cropping 
and how he broke up the ten-acre lot, and 
sowed flax entirelv on mv advice ? " 


" Very well indeed," answered Susan, de- 
murely. She had good reason for remem- 
bering the circumstance, since, owing to dry 
soil and the utter impossibility of irriga- 
tion, the result proved a dead failure. 

" I'll only make one stipulation," pro- 
ceeded the irrepressible Baronet — " that you 
lay in a cask of beer. I ask nothing more 
expensive. Hang it, there never was a 
man with simpler tastes! But water! and 
New Eiver water, too ! Fugh ! " and Sir 
Geoffrey drew down the corners of his 
mouth — he could not turn up his nose, 
because it was aquiline — and pulled a gri- 
mace expressive of the most intense disgust. 

" I must talk to my aunt about the 
ale," said Susan. 

" Come, you don't mean to say, my girl, 
you are going to turn yourself out to grass 
like Nebuchadnezzar, and drink nothing 
stronger than water, as if you were a cow 


or a dog ? Why, even a horse knows 
better. Gad ! I Avouldn't keep a brute that 
refused honest liquor." 

Susan and Mr. Gayre simultaneously 
broke into a peal of laughter. 

" I am growing rather in love with 
teetotahsm," said the former. " It is cheap 
and healthful." 

" The cheapness I admit, but the health 
I deny," retorted the Baronet. "I only 
know one fellow who denies his blood 
natural nourishment, and he's covered with 
as many boils and blains as Job ; only 
Job got cured, and he never will. Serve 
him rio'ht, too." 

Once, when opportunity oflfered, Mr. 
Gayre hazarded an inquiry to Sir Geoffrey 
concerning the why and the wherefore of 
Miss Drummond's conviction that she would 
have to content herself with a humdrum 
existence and very modest surroundings, 
and thouo'h the answer he received seemed 


to him scarcely satisfactory, it was at least 

'• Susan's a confoundedly sensible sort of 
a girl," said the Baronet. " Always was. 
Bless you, I used to call her little old 
woman when she wasn't more than eight 
hands hio-h. She ou^ht to have been a 
big heiress, a fine haul for some lucky 
young fellow, but the house in which her 
father left his money went smash, and she 
never got a penny out of the wreck but 
a beggarly two thousand pounds. Her 
uncle Drummond was a man who could 
not save a farthing — most extravagant old 
dog ; so when he died, and the son came 
into the estate, there was poor Susan 
adrift Avith about sixty pounds a year, 
and no near relation except the ancient 
party at Enfield. Many a girl would have 
broken her heart; but that's not Susan's 
way. She'll make the best of a bad busi- 
ness, and when that young Arbery's gone 


back to the Antipodes take sole manage- 

"Yes, I understand all that," replied the 
banker ; " but why should she speak as 
if she was going totally out of society ? 
Now, she comes here, for instance ; why 
should she imply she will not be able to 
continue to do so ? " 

" Well, for two reasons, I suppose : one, 
I don't fancy the aunt will care to be 
left alone ; another, Susan knows Peggy 
must marry ; and she's not so blind as 
to imagine my good daughter would care 
for her as a constant or even occasional 
inmate. Peg's jealous of her, that's the 
truth. Besides, Susan's not grand enough, 
or rich enough, or dressy enough, or 
stuck up enough to please her ladyship. 
Yes, you may stare, but though Peggy's 
my own child, I can see her faults. I 
don't know where she gets them, upon 
my soul, I don't — not from me ; and as 


for her poor mother, if your sister hadn't 
much wit, at any rate she was a loving 
clinging creature. You mayn't believe it, 
Gayre, but I've often felt very sorry for 
Margaret. Most men would only think of 
themselves, but, thank Heaven, that's not 
my way;" and Sir Geoffrey paused, either 
because he was stricken dumb with 
the contemplation of his own merits, 
or because he wished to give his 
brother-in-law time to recover from 
the astonishment he beheved such 
unparalleled magnanimity might well 

Whatever his emotions, Mr. Gayre con- 
trolled them admirably. 

" Still, I fail to comprehend Miss Drum- 
mond," he persisted. " Most girls look 
forward to marriage as an end to all 
difficulty, the beginning of a brilliant and 
delightful existence. Why should she not 
feel certain that a husband as rich and 

48 S US AX DR UMMOyj). 

handsome as Cinderella's prince will one 
day cross her path ? " 

" Because, as I told you before, Susan is 
as wise as Solomon. She knows well 
enough it is not so easy to pick up a rich 
husband ; if it were, clever though she is, 
she is not the sort of girl to hook a big 
fish. Besides, her own sense must tell her 
that if Peggy, a baronet's daughter and so 
forth, hangs fire, she has not much chance 
of going ofi* to any good purpose. Fact 
is," went on Sir Geoffrey, shaking his 
remarkable head till his hat actually 
quivered, " men can't afford to marry 
nowadays, unless the lady brings something 
in her hand, and something considerable 
too. There's no end to the expenses of a 
married man. They begin with the engage- 
ment ring, and they don't end when he is 
screwed down iu his coffin. It's no joking 
matter, I can tell you. Men don't care a 
straw, at this date of the world, what a 

ox THE WAY HOME. 49 

girl is ; what they want to be told is what 
she has. For himself, a man is always 
worth his own value in the matrimonial 
market, but a woman isn't ; there's such a 
deuce of a lot of them ! " 

Lir. Gayre was thinking of these utter- 
ances, and many more, as they drove 
steadily on through the chill twilight of 
that summer's night, when suddenly the 
carriage stopped, and Sir Geofirey shouted 
to some one they had just passed, " Jump 
up, man ; we'll make room for you on the 
box ; you've done enough for glory ; come 
along ! " 

" Thank you, I'd rather walk," answered 
a sulky voice, which belonged to Lionel 
Hilderton, and none other. 

" With my left leg for leader, 
And right leg for wheeler, 
I'll distance all racers, says Pat. 

Hoo-roo ! 
I'll distance all racers, says Pat." 

chanted the Baronet. " Don't be a fool. 

Vol. ii. 26 


Lai," he added, in sober prose. " It's thir- 
teen miles from here to Camden Town, if 
it's a step. If you have no mercy on 
yourself, have some on your boots ! " 

Even Susan Drummond could scarce 
have found an apology for the reply to 
Sir Geoffrey's genial speech, which though 
muttered, was distinctly audible to every 
person in the carriage. 

" Have 3^our own bad way, then, my 
friend," retorted the Baronet ; " I'll not 
baulk you. Walk and be ! " 

" Poor Mr. Hilderton ! " exlaimed Miss 
Chelston as they drove on. 

"Lovely woman ! " commented Mr. Sudlow. 

" Yes, it's what we are all bound to go 
through," said Mr. Gayre, who, having now 
a perfect knowledge of the name of that 
lovely woman, derived the keenest enjoy- 
ment from Mr. Sudlow's remark. 

"And the most delightful part of the 
business is, that by this time next year he 

ox THE WAY HOME. 51 

will be thinking what a special Providence 
it was that she refused to smile on him," 
capped young Graceless. 

" I hope you like that, my lady," thought 
Mr. Gayre, striving in vain to catch a 
glimpse of his niece's face. 

Almost in silence the dreary journey was 
got through somehow. If there ever had 
been a time when Mr. Graceless enjoyed 
the society of a respectable woman it was 
long past ; and after the utterance of a 
few commonplace phrases, he began to 
think what a nuisance it was he could not 
smoke, to wonder whether the old City 
" duffer " would stand to the bargain made 
with Sir Geoffrey, how much the Baronet 
would expect for his share of the spoil ; 
and finally, exhausted by these mental 
labours, he fell asleep, for doing which 
he afterwards apologised by explaining 
he had " made a long day," viz. thirty- 
four hours, not having gone to bed at 



all on the night preceding Mrs. Jubbins* 

As for Mr. Sudlow, he was in a white 
heat of rage at the presence of this in- 
terloper. He felt jealous, envious, disap- 
pointed. Although Miss Chelston had, 
during the early part of the day, shown 
him a good deal of favour, when once 
dancing commenced he found himself 
put somehow out of court. Graceless, 
without a sovereign in his pocket, 
was, in a ball-room, a greater man 
than Mr. Sudlow ; and not merely Grace- 
less, but all the guests introduced by Sir 

" They dance like seraphs ! " said one 
gushing young lady to the disgusted Dives, 
who did not dance like anything on earth 
or in heaven except like himself, who 
walked through a quadrille with the 
solemn grace of a poker, and extracted, 
apparently, a vast deal less pleasure out 

ox THE WAY HOME. 53 

of a wild galop than he would have 
done from a rehgious procession. 

" He likes no concert where he can't play 
first fiddle," said the Baronet, afterwards 
summing him up ; and as he certainly did 
not do that at The Warren, it goes with- 
out saying Mr. Sudlow's enjoyment of the 
evening's proceedings was not of an ecstatic 

On and still on, weary mile after weary 
mile ; the gray dawn came raw and miser- 
able ; objects by the wayside began to be 
visible, and it was with a jaded feeling 
of relief the revellers found themselves at 
last jolting over the London stones. How 
hard and cold the river looked in the 
first beams of the morning sun ! ^Yhat 
a blessed sicrht the Houses of Parliament 
seemed, holding as it did an assurance 
Middlesex was reached once more! On 
and still on. What an endless distance 
they appeared to have driven I How 


cramped and stiff they felt ! How exas- 
peratingiy maddening Sir Geoffrey's cheery 
and wide-awake tones sounded, as he hailed 
his brother-in-law to ask, 

" Shall we go round by Wimpole Street, 
Gayre ? Drop you at your door with 

" Certainly not," answered Mr. GajTe ; 
" we will get out here ; " and, suiting his 
action to his word, he opened the carriage- 
door and stepped out, leaving Mr. Sudlow 
to follow his good example. 

" I'll take your place now," said the 
Baronet, jumping down from the box. 
" It's getting a bit chilly. No, Graceless, 
keep where you are ; we'll find you a sofa, 
never fear. Hope you'U be none the worse, 
Mr. Sudlow ; by-by, Gayre ! " and Sir Geof- 
frey put up the window, and remarked to 
all whom the intelligence might concern 
that it was deucedly cold. 

" What does he mean by it ? " was the 

ox THE WAY HOME. 55 

astounding question Mr. Sudlow put to his 
companion as the carriage rolled away. 

"What does who mean by what?" asked 
Mr. Gayre, in amazement. 

" Your brother-in-law ! What does he 
mean by taking that fellow Graceless to his 
house and talking about finding him a sofa ? " 

" Are you mad, Mr. Sudlow ? " said the 
banker, '• Do you suppose Sir Geoffrey 
Chelston cannot ask any one he likes to 
his house without your permission ? " 

'• He has no business to allow his 
daughter to associate with such a man " 

" May I inquire by what right you pre- 
sume to dictate with whom his daughter 
shall associate ? What is Miss Chelston 
to you, that you should even express an 
opinion on the subject ? You are tired 
and a little irritable, Mr. Sudlow ; so I 
will only say, that it seems to me you 
have of late, more than once, strangely 
forgotten yourself I " 



gr^EAVE me to deal with the fellow, 
liA^ Gayre," said Sir Geoffrey cheer- 
fully." " You are not fit for the task. In 
your own way you are confoundedly clever 
— no doubt of that ; but aptitude for 
business is one thing — gad, I wish I wasn't 
such a fool about figures and money I — and 
a knowledge of human nature another. 
You made a mistake with your friend — 
one you would not have caught your simple 
brother-in-law committing. He never ought 
to have gone with us to Mrs. Jubbins — 
never. He thinks now Peggy and myself 
are no better than her lot, and that he is 
as good as we are. He thought great a'uns 


of you once ; now he knows your ' native 
heath ' is much the same as his own — " and 
as the Baronet left his sentence thus un- 
finished, in order to light a fresh cigar, Mr. 
Gayre felt the pause which ensued more 
explicit and humiliating than any words 
could have proved. 

It was three days after the party at The 
Warren. Mrs. Jubbins had been discussed, 
re-discussed, praised, criticised, disparaged, 
blamed ; and now there was nothing left for 
the majority of her guests to do save call 
and see whether " the Earl of Merioneth's 
house " seemed as grand a place when 
viewed in cold blood as it had done while 
filled with visitors who walked through the 
rooms to the strains of music and the 
popping of champagne corks. Things during 
that three days had not been going plea- 
santly with Mr. Gayre ; on the contrary, 
when he went to Chislehurst, ostensibly to 
inquire how Mrs. Jubbins felt after her 


exertions, he found Miss Drummond was 
walking through the woods, accompanied 
by Mr. Hilderton. The widow told him this 
fact with a look of mournful significance, 
and he really felt too much dispirited to 
inform the lady he was satisfied his niece, 
and not her friend, had won the poor prize 
of a struggling and sulky artist's heart. 
No, many a man was caught on the re- 
bound, and he did not know, he could not 
be sure. After all, the girl might scarcely 
understand her own mind ; possibly she 
mistook the actual state of her feelings. 
This sisterly sort of intimacy, this familiar 
intercourse, was dangerous — very. 

Supposing Susan were Mrs. Gayre, would 
he allow, would he tolerate it ? Certainly, 
Mr. Gayre decided, he woukl do nothing 
of the kind. It was all very well to talk, 
but Lai was not her brother; worse still, 
he was disgustingly handsome — and young. 
Yes, just the lover a girl might fancy ; 


and Susan was only a girl, and the com- 
mon-sense view of the matter must be con- 
sidered the right sense. The whole thing 
was unusual and incorrect. He thought 
he would drop a word of warning ; but, 
somehow, when the culprits appeared, he 
found it would be very hard to make 
Miss Drummond understand the full enor- 
mity of which she had been guilty, and 
decided that to lecture her on the sub- 
ject of " propriety " would be like dis- 
coursing to a child concerning those sins 
which it is the endeavour of older per- 
sons, who have eaten of the tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil, to keep 
hidden from its innocence. 

At dinner, to which meal Mr. Gayre 
stopped, for Mrs. Jubbins would take no 
denial, Susan was charming ; less gay than 
formerly, perhaps a little sad, certainly 
most sweet. She had been teaching Ida 
to ride, and caused some laughter by 


an account of that young lady's mis- 

" I don't know what in the world we 
are to do without her, Mr. Gayre," said 
Mrs. Jubbins, referring to Susan, not her 
daughter ; " we shall feel lost." 

" When is the parting to take place ? " 
asked the banker, who felt delighted to 
hear Miss Drummond's sojourn at Chisle- 
hurst was soon to be ended. 

" I am croino' to Enfield to-morrow," said 

" To Enfield!'' repeated Mr. Gayre; "not 
to North Bank ? " 

" I have written to tell Maggie I cannot 
return there just at present." 

" So we shall all have to go into mourn- 
ing," said the banker ; at which remark 
Lai Hilderton scowled. He thought this 
rich man was sneering at his old friend. 

The next check Mr. Gayre met was 
received from the artist. In the most 


courteous manner possible he asked Mr. 
Hilderton to paint Miss Chelston's portrait, 
and was met with a flat refusal. 

" I don't intend to paint any more por- 
traits," declared Lai, with rude directness. 

Susan looked at him reproachfully and 
sighed. Mr. Gayre saw the look and heard 
the sigh. 

" It breaks my heart to think of her 
being tied to such a bear," said Mrs. 
Jubbins afterwards. 

" Why did you ask him here ? " inquired 
the banker. 

" I did not ask him. He came, and I 
could not well tell him to go. Of course 
he will not come when she is gone ; " 
which was very poor comfort for the 
middle-aged lover. 

Calling the following afternoon at Nortli 
Bank, in hopes of hearing why Susan 
had decided on returning to Enfield, and 
when she might be again expected in 


Mr. Moreby's villa, he found Mr. Sudlow 
partaking of afternoon tea, and was un- 
pleasantly struck by a change in his 
manner, rather to be felt than defined. 
They had not met since the morning when 
Mr. Gayre administered what he meant for 
a crushing rebuke, and the banker was cer- 
tainly not prepared to find this former dis- 
ciple had cut his leading-strings, and was 
walking quite independently about the 

world, " showing his d d cloven foot," 

said Sir Geoffrey. , 

Few things could have discomposed Mr. 
Gayre to an equal extent. Hitherto Mr. 
Sudlow had looked up to him, adopted his 
views, being guided by his advice, received 
his admonitions modestly and in a good 
spirit, as if he knew they proceeded from 
one having authority ; but now all that 
was changed. He ventured to disagree with 
the banker, not once or twice, but many 
times ; he spoke more familiarly to Sir 


Geoffrey than young Graceless would have 
done ; and only the beautiful coldness and 
propriety of Miss Chelston's demeanour pre- 
vented his addressing that young lady " as 
though she was some girl standing behind 
a counter, by Heaven ! " declared the Baro- 
net, talking "the cad " over after his 

Much exercised about the change which 
seemed to him to have been wrought so 
suddenly, Mr. Gayre told Sir Geoffrey 
that remark concerning young Graceless, 
and delicately hinted it was not impos- 
sible some of those rumours the best of 
men are not always able to escape, had 
reached Mr. Sudlow's ears. 

" Tt is not that," answered the Baronet, 
" I don't pretend to be better than my 
neighbours. No one can say I have ever 
set myself up as a paragon of virtue. I- 
admit I have faults ; who is without them ? 
Even you, Gayre, are not immaculate, I'll 


be bound. As for myself, I am too easy, 
too frank, too trustful, too willing to for- 
give, too ready to be duped. But it's 
nothinor he has heard about me that has 
caused this transformation. Your friend 
Sudlow needs taking down a peg ; his 
comb wants cutting, and I'll cut it. Leave 
me to deal with the fellow." 

And then the credulous Baronet, who 
wore his heart on his sleeve for all the 
daws he came in contact with to peck 
at, delivered himself of that pleasant sen- 
tence which annoyed Mr. Gay re more 
than he would have cared to acknowledge. 

Sir Geoffrey had an absolute genius for 
"finding out the raw," and knew there 
was nothing under heaven that hurt 
Nicholas Gayre's vanity more keenly than 
associating him with the old Brunswick 
Square "set." 

Eesolutely the banker had for years 
held himself aloof from his father's con- 


nections. In the City lie was considered 
proud, exclusive, and a genuine " West- 
ender." At the West End, among acquain- 
tances made during those blessed days 
when he served the Queen and never 
thought of Lombard Street save as a sort 
of gold mine, he was known as an officer 
who had won distinction aud a banker 
who was '• rolling in money ; " while both 
in the City and at the West End people 
held him to be exceptionally respectable. 
And now, merelv for the sake of a orirl's 
brown eyes, he had voluntarily let himself 
drift into close companionship with one of 
the most disreputable men in England — 
gone to a party at which, a year before, 
he would not have been seen for any con- 
sideration ; where dreadful people, who 
were " merely rich " felt themselves at 
Uberty to call him '• Gayre," and address 
him in a "hail-fellow-well-met" manner in- 
expressibly galling; and, as if this was not 

Vol. ii. 27 

66 >S' US AX DR UMMOyi). 

sufficiently mortifying, on the top of all 
came Sir Geoffrey's statement, which he 
knew to he true, that Mr. Sudlow now be- 
lieved socially his former Mentor stood very 
little higher than himself. 

" It is always best to look matters 
straight in the face," proceeded Sir Geof- 
frey, when he had got his cigar well 
alight. " There's Peggy to be married, and 
Sudlow's the only man who has turned 
up we can marry her to. I hate the 
fellow, but what am I to do ? Of course, 
I must not let my own likes or dislikes 
interfere when the girl's happiness is at 
stake. It's a pity I can't find a husband 
for her in a decent rank of life ; but it is 
no use fretting about that now. Well, the 
next thing to be done is — get the man up 
to the point. I don't intend to have him 
dan2[lin<T about here, wastini^ all our time 
and trying my temper. You wouldn't be- 
lieve what a confounded nuisance he is. 


Why, I have often to stop id, and lose 
perhaps the chance of some good thing, 
because he does not know when to go. It's 
all Tery well for him, but we re no further 
forward than we were last June. I can't 
bear such dawdling. Gad I the fellow ought 
to snap at the chance of marrying a 
Baronet's dauirhter."' 

"Apparently he is in no hurry to 
' snap,' " said Mr. Gayre, with ill-natured 

" He will be in a hurry before he is 
much older, or 111 know the reason why,'' 
remarked Sir Geoffrey, "which brings me 
back to the point I started from. It is 
quite evident, Gayre, that under your 
management the matter makes no progress. 
Xow I am going to take the conduct of 
affairs. I don't ask your help because I 
would rather plav mv cfame alone. Fact 
is," finished the Baronet, " the begcrar must 
be brought to book, for I can't hold on in 



tliis way much longer. If I had not been 
pretty lucky the ball must have stopped 
rolling weeks ago ; and I feel it deucedly 
provoking for so much of my hard-earned 
money (no man knows how hard I work) 
to go in keeping up this house. Were I 
alone, any attic at a few shillings a week 
would serve my turn. Besides, I have 
heard a word drop that young Moreby's 
mamma has found a wife for him ; and if 
such is the case, you'll see this place will 
be sold, and then what's to become of poor 
Peggy? Mark my 'words — this place will 
be in the market ere long ; you know how 
right all my intuitions are ; " and Sir Geof- 
frey shook his head with the air of a man 
who believed there was not a cranny or 
crack in it unfilled by wisdom. 

He had good reason, at any rate, for his 
belief concerning Mr. Moreby's villa, since 
the " word dropped " assumed the shape of 
a letter from Mrs. Moreby's lawyer con- 


taining a plain intimation that the sooner 
he could find another residence the better 
his client would be pleased. 

Except in that trifling matter of paying 
ready money, or indeed any money at. 
all, no one could complain of undue: 
delay on the part of Sir Geoffrey. Were-- 
a horse to be bought or sold, a bet to- 
be laid, a flat to be fleeced, or any- 
other little business of pleasure or profit in. 
liand, the Baronet was " up to time ; " and 
most certainly now he had decided " some 
steps must be taken about poor Peggy," 
he did not mean to let grass grow under 
his feet. 

Accordingly next time Mr. Sudlow called, 
as of late he had got into the habit of 
doing, unaccompanied by his former friend 
and Mentor, he found the drawing-room 
unoccupied, and not the slightest sign of 
afternoon tea. On the contrary, the gipsy 
table, which might be regarded as the 

70 '^j ■ SUSAy BE UMMOyj). 

basis of operations, was put tidily away in 
one corner of the apartment ; the chairs 
stood also in orthodox positions, and the 
stands and vases were destitute of flowers. 

Mr. Sudlow stared about him bewildered. 
He had never before imagined the prettiest 
room in young Mr. Moreby's villa could 
look so cold and formal. The afternoon 
also was dull and depressing. Xo sunshine 
streamed across the tiny garden, and no 
fragrant logs burnt in the grate. "Logs 
;;are deuced useful sort of things," Sir 
Oeoffrey was in the habit of sententiously 

On that especial day, however, at five 
o'clock P.M., affairs were chilling in the 
^extreme ; and as he stood by the window 
.Mr. Sudlow shivered. 

'"Bah! what a place this must be in 
tlie winter," he considered, " with all that 
water flowing at the rate of about an inch 
an hour down below there ! " 


" How de-do ? " said the Baronet, appear- 
ing at this point in Mr. Sudlow's medita- 
tions, and greeting his daughter's admirer 
with friendly famiharity and two extended 
fingers. "Bit raw, ain't it? Come into 
the next room — fire there ; like a fire 
myself all the year round ; " with which 
statement Sir Geoffrey conducted Mr. Sud- 
low into the adjoining apartment, where 
that gentleman found blazing logs and a 
strong smell of stimulants. 

" I suppose we must consider the best of 
the weather's over now," remarked the host 
as he threw on another billet. 

Mr. Sudlow ventured to hope a fine day 
or two might still be expected, but Sir 
Geofirey would not listen to the suggestion. 
"We're in September now," he said, "and, 
faith! winter will be upon us before we 
can turn round." 

After that there ensued a pause. Sir 
GeoiTrey was able, as a rule, to maintain a 


good even stream of talk, but neither man 
could be described as a brilliant conversa- 

"What Avill you take, Sudlow ? " asked 
the Baronet, inspired by a happy idea, 
saunteriniT towards the sideboard as he 

Mr. Sudlow thanked Sir Geofircy, but 
declined to take anything. 

"It's a beast of a day," said Sir Geoffrey, 
" 'pon my soul it is ; worse than if it was 
raining. Have something, man ; I am sure 
you need picking up ; I know I do." 

Firmly Mr. Sudlow, or, as the Baronet 
sometimes loved to describe him, that good 
young sneak, resisted the temptations and 
declined the blandishments of his ladye-love's 
papa. " I never touch wine between meals," 
he said, repeating a statement Sir Geoffrey 
had heard before at least fifty times. 

" Gad, I envy you ; I only wish I could 
do without it," answered the Baronet ; and 


to prove how imperatively necessary he 
found it to "pick himself up," he forthwith 
poured out and swallowed a tumbler of 
champagne, laced with what he called a 
mere touch of brandy. 

Mr. Sudlow looked on during this per- 
formance, but spoke never a word ; indeed, 
what word could he have spoken? 

" I feel a new man," said Sir Geoffrey, in 
that capacity strolling back to the heartli 
and criticallv scannino- the last \o^ he had 
thrown on. " Do — take even a glass of 
sherry, Sudlow." 

But Sudlow only shook his head. 

" Deuced chilly, I call it," went on the 
Baronet, settling himself in the deptlis of 
an armchair and stretching out his long 
legs towards the fire. "Well, and what 
mischief have you been up to since I saw 
you last?" 

" Not much," answered the lively suitor, 
who detested Sir Geoffrey's jokes, and yet 


did not well know liow to take offence at 
tliem. "How is Miss Chelston?" 

" 0, she's all right," was the reply — 
" packing." 

" Packing ! " repeated Mr. Sudlow. 

" Yes ; of late days she's had unfortunately 
to manage without a maid, poor girl ; so 
she's doing the best she can, with the help 
of Mrs. Lavender. They've been at it all 
day ; but I'm afraid to inquire progress." 

"Is Miss Chelston, then—" 

" She's going out of town," finished the 
Baronet, with kindly consideration ; " and, 
faitli, I'm very glad she is, though I don't 
exactly know what I am to do here all by 
myself — you'll take pity upon me, and look 
in often, won't you ? — for the girl has been 
too long cooped up, losing all her colour, 
and so forth." 

'• Is she likely to remain away for any 
length of time ? " asked Mr. Sudlow. 

Can't tell, I'm sure, what she'll do when 



she gets among lier friends — go the round of 
them, I suppose. I'll not bid her come back 
to Xorth Eank, you may be sure, while she 
keeps well and is enjoying herself elsewhere. 
In the length and breadth of England I 
suppose there is not so unselfish a father 
as myself." 

Sudlow murmured some remark under 
his breath, which Sir Geoffrey chose to 
accept as complimentary ; for, after repeat- 
ing his statement in different and more com- 
prehensive terms — viz., that when another 
person's interests were to be considered, he 
never thought of " Geoffrey Chelston " — he 
remained for a short time looking at the 
fire with a pensive and satisfied expression 
of countenance. 

With more couras^e than miojht have been 
expected under the circumstances, Mr. Sud- 
low essayed a few commonplace observa- 
tions ; to all of which Sir Geoffrey replied 
heartily, yet in a manner which suggested 


to the visitor that his mind was wandering 

" Is there any chance of my having the 
])leasure of seeing Miss Chelston this after- 
noon ? " ventured the lover at last. 

The Baronet laughed. 

" My good fellow," he said, " it would be 
' as much as my place is worth ' to ask 
such a thing. My daughter can't endure 
to be seen unless she's in parade dress, 
every bow and brooch and hairpin in its 
proper place. Funny girl! Now she's in 
her dressing-gown I wouldn't like to beg 
for a two minutes' interview myself." 

" I did not mean to intrude, of course ; I 
only wished — but perhaps you will kindly 
tell Miss Chelston I trust she may have an 
'extremely pleasant journey.'" 

"I don't know much about the journey," 
answered Sir Geoffrey; "but she's certain to 
have a good time when she gets to the end 
of it. Much obliged to you, I'm sure. Ill 


say all that's proper and civil. What, must 
you go ? Can't you spare me even a few 
minutes more ? Xo ? Well, I'll walk with 
you to the gate. By the bye, I saw you 
the other day, though you did not see me." 
" Indeed ! IMay I ask where ? " 
" In Meridian Square. You were potter- 
ing about ! Had I seen any one to mind 
my horse I'd have got down to ask what 
the deuce was possessing you to hold a 
house-to-house visitation in a neighbourhood 
like that. The whole population must have 
been at one-o'clock dinner, I think. At any 
rate there were mingled odours of fish, 
onions, bacon, and cabbage, and not one of 
the aborigines visible. You are in a hurry ! 
Good-day. Look in as often as you can. 
Co6>J-afternoon ! " And the Baronet, as he 
shut the gate after Mr. Sudlow, slowly 
closed one eye with a waggisli expression 
of such infinite, if silent amusement, that it 
really seemed a pity there was no one at 


liand with whom he coald share the excel- 
lent joke evidently in progress. 

" Sulk away, my friend," soliloquised the 
Baronet. " The more you sulk the better 
I shall be pleased. You've had two or 
three nasty falls this afternoon, or I'm 
much mistaken. Perhaps for the future 
Jack will think twice before he again feels 
quite so certain he is as good as his 

" So your niece is not at home," suggested 
Mr. Sudlow to the banker the first time he 
was fortunate enouc^h to meet that n-entle- 

" Where is she, then ? " asked Mr. Gayre. 

" Gone out of town." 

"0! Gone for how long?" 

"I do know — not till she has finished 
the round of all her friends, as I under- 

Secretly Mr. Gayre reflected that Miss 
Peggy's absence would not prove of long 


duration if it depended on that contin- 
gency ; but lie only said, 

"Well, you see, Sadlow, j-'ou and I are 
the only people left in town. Soon I shall 
be the last rose — for you doubtless mean 
to take your departure shortly." 

"Yes, I think I shall get away for a 
while," agreed Mr. Sudlow. " I never re- 
member so slow a season." 

" Take comfort ; it is over, at any 

" Which way are you going, Mr. Gayre?" 

" If you had asked me two minutes ago 
I should have said to Xorth Bank ; but 
as my niece is not there the journey would 
be useless. Sir Geoffrey is sure to be out." 

" He has not left town," said Mr. Sudlow, 
in an aggrieved tone. 

"Now his daughter is gone you may be 
very sure he won't stop long behind. I 
understood him to say some time ago he 
was only staying on her account." 


"I suppose," remarked Mr. Sudlow, rue- 
fully, " he has plenty of friends always 
ready to invite him." 

" Possibly, probably ; but I really have 
no information on the subject." 

" I daresay now he'll be going to some 
great place in the country to shoot." 

" He may ; I do not know." 

''If I could speak French well I'd go 
abroad," said Mr. Sudlow, a little inconse- 
quently ; " but it is such a nuisance to be 
in a foreign country, and experience a diffi- 
culty about even asking for a glass of 

"If Sir Geoffrey were here he would 
advise you to get over that difficulty by 
never asking for a glass of water ; " with 
Avhich easy observation Mr. Gayre managed 
to end the dialogue and betake himself to 
Wimpole Street, whence he despatched a 
note to his brother-in-law, asking, " What 
have you done with Margaret ? " 


During the course of the following day 
back came Sir Geoffrey's reply : 

"Dear Gayre. — Don't you trouble your 
head about Peggy. She is out of town, 
staying with friends — that is what Peggy is 
doing ; and she is going to remain out of 
town for the present. As for myself, now 
I have that anxiety off my mind, I intend 
running down to Snatchwell's place in Staf- 
fordshire to have a turn among the long- 
tails. You had better come too. Lots of 
game ; pleasant house to stop at ; colourless 
^\4fe, with no harm or good about her ; 
excellent cellar ; host who Hkes his guests 
to enjoy themselves. Snatchwell would 
have been just the husband for Peggy — son 
of an ironmaster, or something of that sort, 
who left him a large fortune. But then, 
you see, there's Mrs. S. ; and even for 
Peggy I don't feel disposed to bring myself 
to the gallows. If you like to look up any 
evening you name, shall be glad to see you ; 

Vol. ii. 28 


but the place is all, after a manner, done 
up in holland and brown paper, and there 
are no servants except Sweet Lavender. 

"Yours, G. C. 

"Think about Staffordshire." 

" Then she is really out of town," decided 
Mr. Gayre. "I scarcely believed it. Who 
can he have found to take charge of 
her ? " 



September had come and gone. 

Spite of Sir Geoffrey's gloomy pro- 
phecies concerning an early winter, that 
year summer, as if loth to part company 
with everything fair and beautiful, lingered 
in England till even in late November 
such a blue and sunshiny sky looked down 
on mead and stream and copse as often fails 
to gladden the eye in rose-laden and leafy 
June. It was October — a dry glorious October, 
with foliage turning red and yellow and 
brown and russet on the trees, wlien the cones 
hung low on the pines, and late pears and 
apples and plums shone mellow on the 
espaliers ; and there was just enough of 



chilliness in the autumn air to make a fire 
pleasant, and the country looked its very 
best, and the stubble gleamed golden in the 
bright sunshine, and sportsmen winding 
through woods only just beginning to get 
somewhat bare and thin of foliage gave 
animation to almost every sylvan landscape. 

The Warren was lookinor enchantinsr. 
Down in the plantations there was an au- 
tumnal rustle and scent ; but immediately 
around the cottage it might still have been 
July, so firm was the turf, so fair the 
lawns, so bright the gardens, so gay the 
verandah, with flower and leaf and berry ; 
whilst as for Mrs. Jubbins, the gladness of 
Nature seemed reflected in her face. 

So happy and good a season the widow 
had never known. The glory of an Indian 
summer was streaming across her life just 
as the sunshine lay golden upon the Kentish 
fields. Three, often four, days a week Mr. 
G-ayre now spent at her house. 


Ostensibly he came to shoot ; but then 
he mioht have found far more pheasants, 
far finer sport, elsewhere. Were not great 
houses open to him ? Had not grand and 
notable persons asked for the pleasure of 
his company at their country seats ? It 
was optional with him, she knew, whether 
he chose to chase " the wdld deer and fol- 
low the roe " in Scotland, or kill a stray 
rabbit on his lordship's twenty-acre lot. 
For Inm the rivers of Ireland danced and 
ghttered in vain, the Yorkshire moors held 
no charm, the stately hospitality of great 
men's houses presented no temptation. 

At last, thought the widow, after the 
years, the long patient years, of waiting, he 
had become quite one of the family; and 
by Christmas perhaps — who could tell? — 
the day might be settled wdien, the last 
drop of bitterness extracted from her cup, 
she should exchange the name of Jubbins 
for that of Gayre. As regarded the banker 


himself, she felt he had grown too delight- 
ful ; while still superior to all created 
beings, he was yet more human, more acces- 
sible, less cynical. He took the keenest 
interest in Ida's equestrian exercises ; he 
talked to the boys about their future — ;he 
was very earnest that one at least of them 
should pursue the path Mr. Jubbins had 
trod before. 

When he spoke about " oil " it seemed 
to the widow that product became nectar. 
Attar of roses never smelt sweeter than 
rank sperm or olive when purified by Mr. 
Gayre's clever tongue. 

At last he was identifying his interests 
with hers — " taking notice " of her children, 
advising her — not coldl}^, but as one who 
took a pleasure in the subject, as to their 
future ; and all this had come to pass since 
she left Brunswick Square and migrated to 

Blessed Chislehurst ! blessed Warren ! 


tlirice-blesscd Lady Merioneth ! As slie 
paced the rooms once trodden by that 
noble personage, as her feet pressed the 
carpets formerly honoured by the foot- 
steps of nobility, and looked out of the 
windows on the woods for which her 
money paid, but in which Mr. Gayre 
shot, the widow forgot to remember she 
had been Higgs and was Jubbins — 
forgot everything in heaven and on earth 
save that she believed at length her long 
fealty was to be rewarded, and that ere 
long she would be solemnly asked whether 
she Eliza would take this man Nicholas 
for better and for worse. 

Poor Mrs. Jubbins ! Men were deceitful 
ever ; and Mr. Gayre only made the few 
pheasants and rabbits he ever " potted " 
at The Warren an excuse for hearing 
tidings of Susan Drummond. 

Since the great party they had met 
thrice — twice at Chislehurst, once at En- 


field, whither Mr. Gayre repaired with a 
message (which might just as well have been 
sent on a post-card) from Sir Geoffrey. 
It struck him Mrs. Arbery was not 
particularly delighted with his visit, and 
that Susan seemed a little anxious and 
distraite ; but when next she walked with 
him round and about The Warren he 
could see no difference in her, save that 
she had grown more sweet and beautiful 
than of yore. When would Sir Geoffrey 
and his daughter return to London ? That 
was the only question Mr. Gayre now 
accounted to be of any real importance. 
Politics were to him as vanity, and the 
state of the money market a matter of 
supreme indifference. He could not pro- 
pose to Susan at The Warren, where his 
most telling sentence might be spoilt by 
a shout from one of Mrs. Jubbins' un- 
trained and ill-mannered cubs. It was 
equally impossible to say what he wanted 


to say out at Enfield, under the eye of 
Mrs. Arbery. No ; lie had decided the 
when and the where his declaration should 
take place, if Heaven only so ordained 
matters that his brother-in-law and niece 
returned to Xorth Bank before all sun- 
shine departed. He knew the very spot 
in the Eegent's Park where he meant to 
lay all he had of value on earth at her 
dear feet. He would entice her there, and 
before those wonderful brown eyes lay his 
heart bare. 

He had thought the whole affair out ; 
there was nothing to conceal, nothing of 
which he need be ashamed. It was for 
her sake only he had sought out his 
relations, for whom he was now prepared 
to do a great deal. Her will should be 
his law. Aught a man may do he was 
ready to essay, if only she would lay her 
hand in his and say, " We will walk 
through life together." 


Occasionally perhaps he felt a twinge or 
two concernmg Mrs. Jubbins ; but if a 
woman likes to deceive herself, is a man 
to blame? 

Mr. Gayre felt Miss Drummond was not 
likely to censure him greatly for not 
asking the vridow in marriage. Susan 
moved among the City people ; but she 
was not of them. She had scarcely a 
thought in common with the bulk of the 
persons Mrs. Jubbins knew. She was good 
to Ida, tolerant towards the boys ; but ! 
and ! what a gulf, wide and long and 
deep, worn by centuries of culture and 
thought and breeding, lay between her 
and the rich dowagers who " condescended " 
to exchange a few words with Mrs. Jubbins' 
young friend, as she flitted about the 
place, getting a book for one, a few 
flowers for another, a cushion for a third 
— " making yourself cheap," so Miss Chel- 
ston once truly and indignantly remarked 


— a thicg, by the way, Miss Clielston was 

never likely to do. 


As for Mr. Sudlow, lie was wanderiiiQ; 
to and. fro upon the earth, like a per- 
turbed spirit. He had. gone to every 
usual and unusual seaside resort within 
a reasonable distance of London, and no- 
where found Miss Chelston, either in the 
flesh or in the visitors' list. She had 
vanished, and nobody apparently, except 
her father, knew whither ; Mr. Gayre did 
not, or Lavender, or Mrs. Lavender, or 
the housemaid, or Mrs. Jubbins, or Miss 
Drummond. Mr. Sudlow had tried them 
all, openl}^ and craftily ; but it is impos- 
sible to tell what one does not know, and 
the suitor could only, by diut of trouble 
and time and scheminir extract at the 
last the answer he had received at the first. 

"Miss Chelston was out of town with 
some friends." Nobody could tell when 
she would returr, nobody seemed to know 


whether she would ever return ; nobody 
was able to throw the smallest light on 
Sir Geoffrey's plans for the future, save 
that there seemed some idea of giving up 
Mr. Moreby's box at Christmas. 

" And I did hear a word let drop, sir," 
said Mrs. Lavender, smoothing down her 
apron, " that very likely Miss Chelston 
might winter abroad with a relation of 
Sir Geoffrey's," which revelation was in 
acknowledgment of a sovereign pressed 
into the worthy woman's hand. Had she 
vouchsafed this information at first in- 
stead of at last, she would never have 
received that twenty shillings sterling coin 
of the realm. 

" Dem ! " said Mr. Sudlow, as he flung 
himself away, leaving poor Mrs. Lavender 
utterly amazed. " Dem I " 

Clearly if Sir Geoffrey failed to under- 
stand many good things, he had a per- 
fect comprehension of such a nature as 


that possessed by tlie son-in-law he hoped 
to secure. 

" Dem ! " said that worthy, which mono- 
syllabic curse meant he felt he must now 
take action. 

" And he went out of that there gate," 
said Mrs. Lavender to her spouse, " and 
tore down the road as if he were a dog 
with a tin kettle tied to his tail ! " 

A week later, Mr. Gayre had but just 
finished dinner, and was in the act of 
filling himself a glass of claret, when the 
door opened, and, unexpected and unan- 
nounced. Sir Geoffrey Chelston made his 

"I know you don't care to see me in 
your house," began the Baronet, directly 
the first greetings were over; "I must be 
a confounded deal less sharp than I am 
if I failed to know that. But under the 
circumstances I thought you would not 
mind. Sudlow has proposed.'' 


" No ! " exclaimed Mr. Gayre. 

"Fact, my dear boy, and a deuce of a 
time lie has been about it, in my opinion. 
If I had not packed Peggy bag and 
baggage out of town, we should never 
have got him up to the point. Yes, five 
days ago I was staying with a young 
fellow in Norfolk, who has just come 
into fifteen thousand a year and some 
splendid shooting — gracious Heavens, only 
to think of the luck everyone seems to 
have but myself! — when a letter arrived, 
forwarded on from my club. It was 
from our friend, asking my permission, 
wanting to pay his addresses, and all the 
rest of the business ; a very proper sort 
of epistle altogether, except that, appa- 
rently, he had forgotten all about money 
matters ; at any rate, he said nothing on 
the subject. So I wrote back from Antler 
Castle a diplomatic little letter, thanking 
him for the honour he did my daughter 

LAyDED. 95 

and myself; hut intimating it was noi 
exactly tlie alliance I desired. I didn't 
say what I wanted, but I made him feel 
he was scarcely in the rank — you under- 

]\Ir. Gayre did. The charming Baronet 
had pursued precisely the same tactics in 
his own case he was now practising on be- 
half of his daughter ; but it was not neces- 
sary to go into that question, so the banker 
only said, 

'• Did he write again ? " 

'•Xo, he came. By the greatest piece of 
good fortune, Dashdale — that's my friend, 
you know — happened to be at the station 
with tandem, dog-cart, livery servants, and 
everything likely to impress an out-and- 
out cad like Sudlow, when he heard that 
individual inquiring how he could get to 
Antler Castle. 'Who is it you want 
there?' asks Dashdale (a deuced ready off- 
hand sort of fellow Dashdale). 'Sir 


Geoffrey Chelston,' says Sudlow. ' You're 
not a dun, I hope ! ' cries Dashdale be- 
tween fun and earnest. Sudlow, I believe, 
got very red, and said, ' No, he wasn't a 
dun.' ' Jump up, then,' says Dashdale ; 
' give him his head ; stand clear, there.' 
And before Sudlow was well settled in his 
seat, as sweet a pair of bays as ever you 
clapped eyes on were spanking along the 
road at a pace which took away our 
friend's breath. 

" ' If you believe me,' says Dashdale, ' the 
cockney held on — held on, by ! ' " 

"Well?" asked Mr. Gayre. 

" Dashdale — most deuced hospitable man 
— made him stop for dinner, stop the 
night, stop for breakfast, stop for luncheon^ 
and then ordered round the brougham and 
sent him over to the station. ' Any friend 
of my friend Chelston,' said Dashdale, 'is 
welcome to anything I can do for him.' 
If I had coached him up, Dashdale could 


not liave pla^^ed into my hands better. 01 
course, in a house like that, Sudlow got 
a glimpse of the usages of decent society. 
Thank God, I am no snob. I would just 
as soon eat a crust of bread-and-cheese at 
a wayside pub as dine off silver ; still, I 
confess I was oiad that, for once, Sudlow 
should see the sort of thing I had been 
accustomed to. There was not much 
bounce left in him when he asked me for 
half an hour's conversation in the library." 

" And the end of it all ? " inquired Sir 
Geoffrey's patient auditor. 

"I'm coming to that. He wanted my 
daughter; what was my objection to him? 
T said, ' General rather than particular. I 
looked for something beyond mere wealth 
in a husband ; ' and I fooled him into 
believing Dashdale might suit me for a 
son-in-law, as, indeed, he would, only he's 
engaged to his cousin, a girl with the 
wickedest pair of eyes, and the sauciest 

Vol. li. 29 


smile, and the best seat across country 
you'd desire to see." 

"Yes," said Mr. Gayre. 

Xo revelation the Baronet could make 
would have surprised his relative ! 

" That arrow stuck. ' You see,' I said, 
' you are only rich.' ' Surely it is some- 
thino- to he rich ! ' he uro-ed. Of course 
I agreed to that. ' But then a great deal 
more is needed. In our rank we look for 
other things besides money. I am a great 
advocate,' I went on, 'for people marrying' 
in their own set. My daughter would be 
miserable if asked to associate with persons 
beneath her. ' " 

"'I should not ask her to do anything 
of the sort,' " he declared. 

" ' I do not know,' I said. ' I have 
noticed a tendency in you to think people 
great and grand merely because they have 
so many thousands a year. In your esti- 
mation, if I may say so without offence 


a lord mayor is an individual to be culti- 
vated. Personally — though I am not in 
the least prejudiced — I would rather not 
associate with lord mayors, and I certainly 
don't intend to let my daughter associate 
with them. You have forced me to speak 
plainly,' I finished ; ' and now no offence 
being, I hope, given, take my advice, and 
look out for some City heiress.' And with 
that I rose to end the conversation." 

" It would have ended with me at a 
much earlier period," said Mr. Gayre. " How 
you can be so intolerably rude, Chelston, 
passes my understanding." 

" Eude ! I was particularly polite. I 
didn't ' Confound his impudence ! ' or bluster 
about my family. I was obliged to show 
him where he had gone wrong, but I 
tried to spare his feelings as much as 
possible. However, he would not let me 
go. He was willing to do everything in 
his power. A golden key would unlock 



the door into almost any society nowadays ; 
and, with his money and my daughter's 
beauty, birth, and breeding, he thought — 
lie felt sure, indeed — there would be no 
difficulty in getting into the very first 

" ' Make no mistake about that,' I said. 
'Society is not a theatre, where you have 
only to pay your money and walk into 
the stalls. Besides, what eartlily reason 
liave you to suppose my daughter would 
marry you ? Has she shown the slightest 
partiality for you ? ' " 

" ' Well, he could not say she had. Still, 
he thouoiit he miofht have a chance if I 
would only give him opportunity ; ' and I 
let him talk on and on, and at last over- 
persuade me into giving a sort of reluctant 
and conditional consent to his writing to 
Peggy. He wanted to see her, but I 
would not allow that. ' I can't have the 
girl harassed as you have harassed me,' 

LANDED. loi 

I told him. ' She is a timid sort of 
creature, and it hurts her, I know, to give 
pain so much, she would be just as likely 
as not to say ' Yes ' when she wanted to 
say 'Xo.'" 

"Then he entreated me not to pre- 
judice her against him. ' Honour bright,' 
I promised ; ' if I say nothing in your 
favour, I'll say notliing in your disfavour ; ' 
and he was going to end with that, when 
I remarked, ' 0, by-the-bye, before we go 
any further we had better understand each 
other about one thing — settlements' " 

Mr. Gayre smiled cynically, but Sir 
Geoffrey did not choose to see that smile. 

"Would you believe," he said, "the 
beggar did not want to make any settle- 
ments ; so we had a very stiff ten minutes 
before I could make the least impression 
on him. ' He did not approve of settle- 
ments.' 'Very well, then,' I said, 'you 
don't propose to my daughter.' ' Whatever 

102 susAy DBUMMoyn. 

the amount of her fortune micrht be, he 
would settle a similar sum.' ' Then,' I 
said, ' you don't propose to my daughter.' 
' He would settle three hundred a year.' 
' no,' I said, ' you don't propose to my 
daughter. Hang it, sir!' I went on, 'have 
you come here to insult me ? You've 
nothing hut money to throw into the scale; 
and, by Heaven, if you don't throw in 
a good lot of that, wife of yours daughter 
of mine shall never be ! Do you think I 
am going to have my only child left to 
the tender mercies of any husband? No, 
no, Mr. Sudlow, you have deceived your- 
self. I am not as simple as I look. I 
have not lived fifty years in this wicked 
world for nothing. And if my daughter 
marries, she shall marry as befits her 
station. Settlements liberal and all in order 
— good establishment — plenty of servants — 
carriage — everything in the best style — 
money no object whatever. Xow you 

LAXDED. 103 

know my views, and there is an end of 
tlie matter. ' " 

"And Mr. Sudlow ?" 

"Your friend accepted tlie inevitable. 
Ton my soul, tliere are people who like 
you the better for thrashing them. When 
I found out my gentleman's game I did 
not spare him, and now he is as tract- 
able as you please. He has my permission 
to write to Peggy through me, and I have 
told her she is not to take him at first, 
but that she must take him at last. I 
wish they could have been married im- 
mediately, but that's impossible. He has 
to find a house she likes, buy furniture 
she selects, purchase the carriage she prefers, 
(if he behaves himself I'll give them a 
pair of horses such as you don't often 
see), make settlements to be approved by 
my solicitors. Gad ! when you think of it, 
Gayre, marriage is an awful thing for a 
man. Then, on the other hand, Peggy 


must provide a trousseau — not a mere make- 
shift sort of business, but the best money 
can buy ; and afterwards comes the worst 
difficulty of all — what are we to do with 
the girl in the period between the time 
she is engaged and married ? There is 
only one person I can think of fit to 
matronise her. I must see Susan Drum- 
mond on the subject. She can help me 
in that quarter, I know." 

''Do you think of going over to Enfield, 
then ? " asked Mr. Gayre. 

"To Enfield/ Not I, faith! I am not 
so fond of cold water, old women, and 
sour looks as all that comes to. I'll just 
drop Susan a line, and ask her to run 
over and see me as soon as ever she can. 
We must take time by the forelock now, 
or else time may reverse the operation." 

"But you don't suppose Miss Drummond 
will run over, as you call it, to see 

LANDED. 105 

" Won't she ? Ah, you don't bet ; if you 
did, I'd lay long odds Susan will come at 
any inconvenience to herself. You don't 
know Susan — that's flat, my lad. And 
now I must go, and you will be very glad 
to see my back. It's a queer world, too. 
Only to think of the Chelstons and the 
Gayres, and the Chelstons and the Sud- 
lows ! " Having delivered himself of which 
suggested parable. Sir Geoffrey, after stig- 
matising claret as cold unhealthy stuff, 
which thinned the blood and destroyed the 
digestion, poured himself out a tumbler of 
Mr. Gayre's rare vintage, and swallowing 
it with a wry face, as though it were 
medicine, walked out of the house with a 
gravity of demeanour and steadiness of gait 
which deceived Mr. Gayre's servant into 
believing the Baronet was soberer than any 

For one rash moment Mr. Gayre had felt 
tempted to declare Miss Drummond should 


not be at liis brother-in-law's beck and call, 
that it was monstrous to ask the girl to 
come to North Bank even for ten minutes 
during his niece's absence ; but the next, 
caution won the day ; only he resolved 
that upon the very first opportunity which 
offered he would tr}" to gain a right to 
stop all that sort of thing. 

But then, good Ileavens ! if Susan mar- 
ried him she would be almost Sir Geoffrey's 
sister-in-law ; and this seemed so utterly 
monstrous an idea that Mr. Ga3a^e had, 
spite of his own will, to sit down and 
consider the complication of relationship 
which would ensue. 

Aunt to Marguerite and Mr. Sudlow and 
the Minor Canonesses, sister-in-law to the 
Canoness and Canon Gayre! The banker 
felt quite disheartened. 

"There ought to be some law passed to 
relieve people of these liabilities," he con- 
sidered ; and then he decided to haunt 



Korth Bank till lie heard when Susan might 
be expected to pay that extraordinary visit 
suggested quite as a matter of course by 
Sir Geoffrey, if indeed she ever paid it at 




j^SKED you to come over in a way 
our worthy friend liere evidently 
considers extremely free and easy, that I 
I might get ten minutes' uninterrupted 
chat with you. We've known each 
other too long to stand on ceremony, eh, 
Susan ? " 

" I should think so indeed," answered 
Miss Drummond, but the colour rushed into 
her face as she spoke. 

"What on earth," wondered Mr. Gayre, 
" can make the girl blush so painfully at 
times, while on other occasions she does 
not seem to have a drop of tell-tale blood 
in her body ? " 


" Can you tell me where ^liss Matthews 
is to be found ? " 

" She is living at Shepherd's Bush," an- 
swered Susan. 

" There, I felt sure you could help me 
out of the wood. How is she off? " 

" Xot very well, I fear," was the 

" All the l^etter for my purpose," said 
the Baronet gaily. " Sorry, of course, on 
her account, and all that," he went on ; 
" but if she is not overburdened witli this 
world's goods, she may be the more inclined 
to let bygones be bygones." 

Susan shook her head gravely. " What 
is it you want her to do ? " she asked. 

'• Come here for three months, and 111 
make it worth her while." 

"I am afraid," said Miss Drummond, 
pursing up her pretty mouth till it was 
like nothing so much as a sweet pink 
rosebud ; then meeting Sir Geoffrey's eye, 


lier lips opened, and she broke into a 
sudden and irresistible peal of laughter, 
in which the Baronet himself joined heartily. 

"Faith, it seemed no joking matter at 
the time. Sue," he said, as soon as he 
could speak ; " and there's Gayre wonder- 
ino' what the deuce we are lau<?hinor at." 

" I can guess," remarked Mr. Gayre, 
with a poor semblance of merriment. 

The three were at luncheon together. 
Mrs. Lavender had what she called "tossed 
up " a very pretty repast, over which Sir 
Geoffrey Chelston, clothed, shaved, and as 
sober as his previous night's doings would 
permit, presided. That luncheon was indeed 
his breakfast, and with the aid of several 
highly-seasoned and savoury dishes, assisted 
by strong cordials, he was trying to get 
that troublesome stomach of his into good 

"Have a glass of sherry, Susan, do," en- 
treated the Baronet. " Capital sherry this. 


Xow I want you to coax Miss Matthews to 
come and take charge of the house for 
three months. I am sure she would do 
anythmg for you." 

"I do not thmk she would do that," 
answered Susan, with an attempt at gravity 
creditable under the circumstances. 

" Kot if I promised to be a good boy 
and behave myself? She need not fear any 
recurrence of the indiscretion. Deuce take 
the girl ! what's she laughing at now ? " 

" Mr. Gayre," panted out Susan, " if 
you could only see Miss Matthews ! " 

" He need not wish to see her, I'm sure. 
Touch of the tar-brush about her com- 
plexion, and figure indescribable. But fact 
is, Gayre, I did offend Miss Matthews — as 
conscientious a woman as ever entered the 
house. An excellent person, but most con- 
foundedly ugly — perhaps that was the reason 
she was good. There is no merit in ugly 
people being virtuous. I can't think what 


the deuce possessed me ; or rather — I know, 
it was some of the worst whisky that ever 
came out of a cheating innkeeper's cellar. 
She needn't have made such a fuss about 
the matter, though. If she looked in her 
glass she must have been perfectly sure 
what I did was committed in a moment of 
mental aberration. Never previously," fi- 
nished the Baronet, " in the course of a long 
and, I may add, comparatively sinless life, 
did I so far forget myself." 

'' She would not have minded it so much, 
I am sure," interposed Susan, " if Dottrell 
had not chanced unfortunately to come into 
the room." 

"Where, if you believe me, Gayre, on 
my sacred word of honour, I was making 
that worthy lady tread a measure like Young 
Lochinvar. I must have been confoundedly 
drunk ; not with the quantity, only with 
the quality, of what I had taken. And 
when I got home and found the old girl in 


the drawing-room, I believe I chucked her 
under the chin, and insisted she should 
dance a minuet with me. She declared I 
kissed her, too ; and I daresay I did, for I 
was quite off my head. As a matter of 
choice, I wouldn't have done such a thing 
in my sober senses for a thousand pounds ; 
and then, in the middle of the performance, 
Dottrell, our then butler, appeared on the 

" She appealed to him for protection, and 
straightway opened out on me. I sat down 
for the simple reason that I could not 
stand, and she did hold forth. Father 
Mathew and Mrs. Grundy together could 
not have hatched up such a discourse. 
She would have gone on till now, only Dot- 
trell calmly remarking, 'You had better 
come away, ma'am ; Sir Geoffrey does not 
understand a word you're saying ; ' with 
firm decision took hold of her arm and 
marched her out of the room." 

Vol. ii. 80 

114 5 rSAX BB UMMOyi). 

"And the next morning?" questioned 
!Mr. Gayre, who now began to understand 
more thoroughly than ever the reason why 
Sir Geoffrey found his domestic affairs some- 
what difficult to manaore. 

" The next mornincf Dottrell woke me 
out of a sound sleep in order to deliver a 
letter from ]\Iiss Matthews. 

" ' Put it down,' I growled, for I had 
such a headache I could scarcely open my 

" ' Beg pardon, Sir Geoffrey, but Miss 
Matthews wants to catch the 11.25 train, 
and ' 

"'Let her catch her train, and be blanked 
to her ! ' I said, settling down again, for I 
had clean forgotten aU about that last 
night's minuet. But it was of no use. 
Dottrell proved too much for me, and I 
had to sit up and face the matter. 

" ' Won't she take an apology ? ' I 


'• Xo, she wouldn't ; all she meant to 
take was her salary and de23arture. But 
now, look here, Susan. You tell her I'm a 
reformed character ; and that I'm never at 
home till morning : and that you'll go bail 
for my good conduct ; and that Peggy who 
is now quite grown up, and a dragon of 
propriety, keeps me on my best manners ; 
and that she shall have fifty pounds for the 
three months, paid in advance. She'll come 
then, bless you I she'll come. If she should 
want any further guarantee, refer her to 
Gay re. He'll tell her the man never lived 
who had a greater respect for elderly 
women than myself. Why, rather than 
offend one of them, I'd keep out of their 
way for ever." 

It was too much. Even ]\Ir. Gayre had 
to laugh, as if he saw some fun in the 
Baronet's utterances, while Susan faithfully 
promised she would say all she could in 
Sir Geoffrey Chelston's favour. 


1 1 6 S US Ay DB UMMOyi). 

"And you'll say it this afternoon, ^von't 
you?" he entreated, "because time happens 
to mean money to me just now." 

To this arrangement Susan at first de- 
murred a little. The afternoon would be 
far advanced before she could get to Shep- 
herd's Bush. Miss Matthews might not be 
at home. Mrs. Arbery Avould certainly feel 
uneasy. But each of these points Sir 
Geoffrey combated, and she yielded ; the 
while Mr. Gayre sat inwardly fuming at 
the way his brother-in-law made use of the 
girl, and the manner she allowed herself to 
be so treated. Mr. Gayre failed to see the 
beauty of making oneself cheap. He could 
not understand that the moment Susan 
beo'an to think she was of too much im- 
portance to answer to the beck and call of 
those she cared for, she would cease to be 
Susan Drummond, and become a totally 
different person. 

" If you are going by the Metropolitan," 


said the Baronet, by Avay of conclusion, 
*^ we can walk together as far as Baker 
Street. Will you come with us, Gayre?" 

Almost gnashing his teeth, Mr. Gayre 
said he would. Where was now his chance 
of speaking to Susan? He felt at his wits' 
end. He did not know what to do. Should 
he ^vrite? Should he go down to Enfield, 
or wait his opportunity, or 

" This is your hat, Ga^Tc," cried Sir 
Geoffrey, interrupting his meditations, " and 
here is Susan. I always did say I never 
saw a girl who could put on her iDonnet as 
fast as you. However, as you know, a 
' bonny bride is soon buskit ; ' which re- 
minds me that I am to be father, and give 
you away some day. You remember our 
compact ? " 

" Very well indeed ; and I will hold you 
to your promise," answered Susan. 

And then, as Mr. Gayre held the door 
open for her to pass out, he wondered to 


himself what on earth his ladye-love could 
see in such a reprobate as Sir GeofTrey to 
laugh and make merry Avith him and smile 
on his battered wicked face, as though it 
were pure as that of an angel. 

Nevertheless, they were a pleasant trio as 
they walked to Baker Street ; and Mr. 
Gayre, after he had got Susan's ticket and 
seen her into the train, he and Sir Geoffrey- 
accompanying the lady on to the platform 
per favour — lamented his own want of 
daring in failing to take a ticket also to 
Shepherd's Bush. 

But if there is a ' divinity which doth 
hedge a king,' there is a higher divinity 
which hedges a modest, innocent woman. 
Not for all the world would Mr. Gayre 
then have so timed his proposal as to hurt 
the girl's self-respect, and daunt her fearless 

" She has no business to be running about 
London in this way by herself," he thought ; 


but lie felt he dared not be the man to teach 
Susan Drummond she was doing wrong. 

Xext morning's post brought a note to 
North Bank saying Miss Matthews utterly 
declined to accept Sir Geoffrey's offer ; but 
she — Susan, the writer — had met, at the 
house of Margaret's ex-governess, a lady 
willing to enter upon the duties he required 
at once. 

"I am sure she is just the person you 
would hke," finished the fair scribe ; " not 
young'' ("Good Lord!" groaned Sir Geof- 
frey), " a widow " (" '\Yare hawks, but she 
can't catch me," considered the juvenile 
Baronet) ; " rather nice-looking and pleasant- 
mannered" ("That's a bit of comfort"); 
" has a grandson she wants to keep at 
school" ("Then she must be out of her 
teens, at any rate ") ; " and seems to be in 
all respects the sort of person you require. 
I enclose her address." 

To which Sir Geoffrey replied : 

1 20 S US AN DR UMMoyn. 

" You settle with her, my dear Susan. 
Anything you say I'll stick to. If she can 
come into residence before the week is out, 
so much the better." 

Upon which authority, it may be assumed. 
Miss Drummond acted forthwith, since Mr. 
Gayre was duly and truly informed " an 
elderly party was coming to keep things 
straight at North Bank." 

" She'll be a deuce of a nuisance, I know," 
finished the Baronet ; " but we must have 
something of the sort. Those few days 1 
had to stay at home and play propriety 
after the Chislehurst spread nearly killed 
me. Besides, my time is my money ; and 
it wouldn't pay me to play the part of Mrs. 
Propriety. Once Peggy has given a sort of 
modified consent, she shall come home ; 
and I've asked Susan to tear herself away 
from the dehghts of Enfield, and stay with 
us for a while to brighten up the house." 

It was not lono' ere Mr. Sudlow won a 


reluctant and difrnilied acceptance from Miss 

'• She feels she scarcely knows enough of 
me yet," explained Mr. Sudlow to Mr. 
Gayre ; '* but even that looks well, does it 
not ? " asked the happy lover, invading the 
sanctity of Upper AVimpole Street one morn- 
ino- before Mr. Gavre had finished his break- 
fast. '• She would not have said so much 
if she had not intended taking me some 
time, would she ? " 

Declining to commit himself to any po- 
sitive statement, Mr. Gayre nevertheless 
admitted he thought his niece must, at all 
events, be enter tainimr the idea of Mr. 
Sudlow as a husband. 

'• I am afraid Sir Geoffrey will be very 
hard to deal with on the subject of settle- 
ments," ventured Mr. Sudlow. 

'• Time enough for you to consider that 
question when you have arranged matters 
with my niece." 

1 22 S US AX DB UMMOyD. 

"You know I object to settlements " 

" So I remember you said before ; and we 
need not go over that old ground again. 
Keep your objections for Sir Geoffrey. It 
is his daughter, not mine, you hope to 

What Mr. Sudlow wanted to know was 
whether Mr. Gayre meant to behave hand- 
somely on the occasion. Five thousand 
pounds, he hinted to Sir Geoffrey, would 
not empty the Lombard Street coffers, 
while it might prove of material assistance 
in the housekeeping battle ; but the 
Baronet warned him off this treacherous 

" Gayre is a deuced odd sort of fellow," 
he said ; " and if he is going to give any- 
thing, he'll give it without being asked — 
perhaps slip a dot into his niece's hand 
when she is going away to change her 
dress. But a certain person, who shall be 
nameless, couldn't get sixpence out of him 


unless he took the notion. Our best plan 
is to let him alone." 

^\'liich was all very well for the Baronet, 
considered Mr. Sudlow ; but not so well for 
the person undertaking to board, lodge, and 
dress the beautiful Marguerite for the re- 
mainder of her days. 

" You see it is not as if Miss Chelston 
had a fortune in her own right," ventured 
^Ir. Sudlow at last. 

Mr. Gayre looked at him and smiled. 

" I suspect," said the banker, " if Miss 
Chelston had possessed a fortune in her 
own right, or in right of anybody else. Sir 
Geoffrey would not have bestowed it on 
you. Take my advice — if you get youth 
and beauty, and birth and breeding, don't 
break your heart because there is not 
money too. You could not have got one 
of the four in the person of my niece but 
for the folly of Sir Geoffrey Chelston, for- 
merly of Chelston Pleasaunce." 

1 24 5 us AX DR UMMoyn. 

" You seem to consider my wealth noth- 

" On the contrary, it is your weaUh which 
lias given you the chance of marrying my 
niece ; and when you are married to her 
I hope you will live in a manner befitting 
lier rank and her means. And for Heaven's 
sake, Sudlow," added Mr. Gayre, with sud- 
den energy, "give up collecting your own 
rents. Dunning weekly tenants is scarcely 
an employment suitable for a man whose 
wife may one day hope to be presented at 

Mr. Sudlow turned pink and scarlet, and 
blue and crimson, in about as many seconds ; 
and his moustache quivered as he asked, 

" Who told you I did anything of the 

" Sir Geoffrey. He says he saw you doing 
it. And now do take a word of advice. 
Your social future is before you to make 
or to mar, and, what is of a great deal 


more importance to me, my niece's future 
can be made or marred by you. If you 
mean to continue to do these sort of things 
say so, and the matter shall be broken off 
at once. It is quite competent for you to 
lower yourself; but my niece shall not be 
pulled down to your level. Why, in 
Heaven's name, don't you sell all that 
wretched property, and try to put your 
many talents out to interest in some way 
befittinp' a gentleman ? " 

"Whenever you can prove your ability 
to introduce me to really good society," re- 
torted Mr. Sudlow, " I will follow your ad- 
vice. Meantime permit me to say I do not 
consider the persons I find you know most 
intimately are in any respect superior to 

"You had better repeat that statement 
to Sir Geoffrey Chelston," said Mr. Gayre, 
" and ascertain his opinions on the subject. 
I was wrong to interfere in the matter. It 

1 26 S us AX DR UMMOyD. 

does not much signify to me whom his 
daughter marries, or whether she ever mar- 
ries at alL" 

"With which exphcit statement 'Mr. Gay re 
rose, and woukl have ended the conference, 
l)ut that Mr. Sudlow, with profuse apologies, 
begged him to overlook his little ebullition 
of temper. 

" You are hard on a fellow, you know," 
he finished. " You delio^ht in catchino- me 
up and twitting me for taking care of my 
money ; though you would be the first to 
find fault if I squandered what my fatlier 
left me." 

" But for my grandfather your father 
would not have had much to leave," an- 
swered Mr. Gayre. 

And then the talk drifted away from the 
dangerous question of rank to the surer 
ground of money, and peace seemed re- 
stored by the time Mr. Gayre announced 
his intention of starting for the City; and 


Mr. Sudlow asked liim to come round by 
Bond Street, as he wished to buy a ring, 
and desired the benefit of his experience. 

"I do not profess to be any judge of 
jewelry," answered Mr. Gayre ; " but I will 
accompany you with pleasure, though I 
consider your purchase somewhat prema- 
ture. However, if the ring is never pos- 
sessed by my niece, it will do for some 
other young lady ; only there is the loss of 
interest to consider, Sudlow." 

"I don't care a straw about that," de- 
clared Mr. Sudlow, valiantly. " Once your 
niece says ' yes,' and if only those con- 
founded settlements can be arranged, I 
shall be the happiest man in England." 

" That's what they all say before mar- 
riage," commented Mr. Gayre, searching 
about for his umbrella. 

They were just turning into Yere Street 
as a cab pulled up opposite Marshall & 
Snelgrove's. Before the driver could get 

1 28 S us AX BR UMMoyn. 

down, a small gloved hand turned tlie 
handle, and in a second the owner of that 
hand was on the pavement, and helping 
another lady to descend more slowly. 

" Why, it is Miss Drummond ! " exclaimed 
Mr. Sudlow ; then he stopped ; for the flash 
of glad surprise in Mr. Gayre's face, and 
the eager step made involuntarily forward, 
were revelations more extraordinary than 
welcome. A man could scarcely have 
clapped hands during the fraction of time 
it required to make the banker's secret 
plain reading to Mr. Sudlow ; and then 
both o'entlemen were raisino- their hats and 
oTeetinor Susan, and remarkinsf how ex- 
tremely strange it was they should have 

The cabman duly paid and discharged, 
Miss Drummond introduced the banker and 
his companion to Miss Matthews, during 
the progress of which ceremony it tried 
even Mr. Gayre's gravity to look upon the 


highly respectable lady with whom, in the 
great drawing-room at Chelston Pleasaunce, 
his brother-in-law had essayed to trip a 
measure. Nearly six feet tall, gaunt, short- 
petticoated, with sUm ankles and lean legs, 
and long, thin, flat feet, with a face like a 
horse, kindly dark eyes, black hair turning 
gray, a good Eoman nose, prominent teeth, 
more than a suspicion of a moustache : a 
less likely woman 1o appreciate the delicate 
attention of being chucked under her chin 
never existed. 

As for Susan, she felt she dared not 
look at Mr. Gayre ; there was a sus- 
picious twitching about her mouth and 
a tremor in her voice Mr. Sudlow could 
not comprehend, though both phenomena 
were perfectly intelligible to his com- 

" Going shojDping, Miss Drummond ? " 
asked Mr. Sudlow, who, in his new cha- 
racter of an almost engao-ed man, had al- 

Vol. ii. 31 

1 30 S us AX DB UMMOND. 

ready commenced to take an interest in 
so purely feminine a weakness. 

" Yes, really," answered Susan, witli a 
little nod and a happy smile, and that 
sudden and vivid blush which was begin- 
ning sorely to perplex Mr. Gayre. What 
on earth could make her colour up at 
such a simple question ? 

'• I always envy ladies their ability to 
sew and their likino; for turninsf over silks 
and satins," observed the banker. 

" My purchases," said Susan, " must be 
of a much more modest description ; " 
while Miss Matthews didactically observed, 
she did not know what ladies would do 
without the resource of needlework. 

As there probably never existed anyone 
less able to susfo-est even a vague solution 
to such a conundrum than Sir Geoffrey's 
brother-in-law, wide though the field of 
speculation opened up by Miss Matthews' 
sententious remark mis^ht be considered. 


the banker wisely declined to enter on it. 
Instead he inquired when Miss Drummond 
meant to go to North Bank, and finding 
''Very shortly — next week, perhaps," took 
his leave, and, accompanied by Mr. Sudlow, 
walked off, followed by warm encomiums 
from Miss Matthews, who professed great 
astonishment that her former employer 
could be possessed of so desirable a re- 

"And what is the younorer o-entleman's 
name, Susan ? I failed to catch it." 

"Mr. Sudlow — a captive of Margaret's 
spear and bow." 

" Will it come to anything ? " 

" I don't know. I hope not. He is only 

" If he is rich, then you ought to wish 
it may come to a great deal. Margaret 
would be wretched married to a poor man ; 
and she must be far happier and safer in 
the house of a husband than residino- 


1 32 S USAK BE UMMOyj). 

under the roof of her reckless and dis- 
sokite father." 

"Poor Sir Geoffrey!" remonstrated Susan. 
*' You are far too hard upon him." 

" No, indeed, my dear, I am not ; and 
the only fault I have to find with you is 
that you wilfully shut your eyes to the 
real character of that dreadful man. I am 
so sorry you are going there ; it is really 
not respectable for a young girl to asso- 
ciate with a person who bears so bad a 
character as Sir Geoffrey Chelston." 

"He has never been bad to me," retorted 
Miss Drummond, sharply — " always good 
and kind and thoughtful. One can only 
speak of people as one finds them." 

"Ah, Susan " 

"Now it is of no use, Miss Matthews," 
interrupted the girl, with that decision 
which often astonished Mr. Gayre ; " I shall 
always like Sir Geoffrey. I should like him 
even if he picked pockets." 


" So he does," said the Eoman Con- 
queror, as the Baronet had been wont to 
call his daughter's governess ; " so he does, 
if all accounts be true." 

" I don't care whether they are true or 
false. Wliat is the use of being fond of a 
friend only when he does right ? I should 
want my friends to be fond of me if I 
did wrong — as you would be, you know 
you would ; so never ask me again to turn 
my back on Sir Geoffrey." 

As days went by, the object of all this 
charming loyalty might have been regarded 
almost as a reformed character. The 
Baronet was devotino^ himself to c^ettino- 
his daughter well settled with the same 
earnestness he brought to bear on betting, 
card-playing, and horse-dealing. 

" Sudlow finds tliose settlements a rasp- 
ing fence," he said to Mr. Gayre ; " but he 

shall take it, by ! or give up all hope 

of Peggy ; " and because he was stead- 


fastly purposed to frustrate the slightest 
attempt to balk the jump, he rose be- 
times, and stayed about the house, and 
watched over Miss Chelston, who was 
now at home, like a hen with one 
cliicken. The engagement at length be- 
came a fact accomplished, and Sir Geoffrey 
was pleased to signify that he would 
put no obstacle in the way of a speedy 

"You satisfy my lawyers," was his terse 
way of putting the case in a nutshell to 
Mr. Sudlow, " and you'll satisfy me. To 
save all trouble and aro-ument, I have aiven 
them their instructions, by ichich they ivill 
abide;'' and if any disinterested person had 
been by to see the shake of the head with 
which the Baronet emphasised this utter- 
ance, he could not have imagined that Miss 
Chelston's worthy papa was destitute of 
worldly wisdom. 

For, indeed, there had come a certain 


change over Mr. Sudlow which puzzled 
and annoyed Sir Geoffrey. It was not that 
he cared for his lady-love less ; hut he 
certainly seemed in no hurry to endow her 
with the amount of his worldly goods upon 
which the Baronet insisted. That meeting 
with Susan Drummond told him how small 
the fair Maro^uerite's chance of inheritino- 
her uncle's wealth might be considered, and 
hitherto he had always calculated that she 
would, sooner or later, come in for a good 
slice out of Lombard Street. 

He lonored to tell Sir Geoffrev and his 
daughter Avhat he had discovered, he was 
waiting his opportunity to do so ; but he 
did not wisli to show his new card before 
Mrs. Morris, who sat constantly on guard 
doing lace- work, which she sold to various 
patronesses for the benefit of her grandson, 
whose school-bills were made the excuse for 
that sort of genteel begging greatly in favour 
with ladies so situated that they are obliged 


to wrest a living from society by hook or 
by crook. 

He earnestly desired to get the matter off 
his mind before Miss Drummond again ap- 
peared at North Bank, and at length his 
chance came one evening, when Mrs. Morris 
]iad been obliged to go to bed with a 
severe headache, and Sir Geoffrey was 
fidgeting about the room, trying all the 
easy-chairs in succession, and thinking what 
an awful nuisance a daughter was, and 
wondering why Lady Chelston could not, 
excepting for contrariness, have presented 
him with a son instead, and marvelling 
when Mr. Sudlow would take his departure, 
and feeling sure there had never existed on 
the earth before so exemplary a father as 

Something was said about Mr. Gajre not 
coming so often as formerly to North 

" I suppose," added the Baronet, " the 


fact is he has other fish to fry at Chisle- 
hurst. I confess I feel rather surprised 
at his choice myself. I hoped he might 
have gone in for something different ; but 
money attracts money, there can be no 
question about that." 

" And Mrs. Jubbins is so immensely rich," 
put in Miss Chelston, softly. 

" Are you quite sure it is Mrs. Jubbins," 
asked Mr. Sudlow. 

"Why, of course, man," answered Sir 
Geoffrey ; " who else is there ? Who else 
should there be ? " 

" I daresay you know best," said Mr. 
Sudlow ; " still, I have a notion that when 
Mr. Gayre marries it will not be the 
wealthy widow." 

"You speak as if you had some one in 
your eye," exclaimed the Baronet, roused 
into attention. 

" So I have." 

" And who is she ? 0, joray tell us I " 


entreated Miss Marguerite. " What I would 
give to see her ! " 

"You can compass your desire without 
any great expenditure of either time or 
money," said Mr. Sudlow, triumphantly, for 
he felt the moment for making a coup had 
come. " Unless I am greatly mistaken, 
Miss Drummond will be metamorphosed into 
Mrs. Gayre before we are any of us much 

" Susan Drummond ! " repeated the 
Baronet, sitting bolt upright in his chair, 
and holding the arms with both hands, 
while Margaret, literally, for the moment, 
bereft of speech, remained dumb. " I think 
you are wrong there, my friend," added Sir 
Geoffrey, after a pause, which seemed to 
last for years. 


"How in the world could such a notion 
have got into your head ? " 

" I can't imagine how it failed to get 

BETWEEX wiyn jyi) water. 139 

into yours," answered 'Mv. Sudlow, Avitli a 
fine scorn. 

" Poor dear Susan, what a preposterous 
idea ! " said Miss Chelston, gently. 

"You will find it a true one, I imagine," 
persisted the new prophet. 

" Fancy Susan my aunt I " suggested the 
beauteous Marguerite, in the sweetest 
accents, the time her heart was full of 
rage and malice and all uncharitableness. 

" You might get a worse, Peggy, but 
never a better," said the Baronet, who. 
having now grasped the position, decided 
there was something in it. ''If the land 
lies as you think, Sudlow, I for one shall 
be delighted. On the face of God's earth 
there walks no ^-rander woman than Susan 
Drummond ; and while I should have made 
the Jubbins welcome, I'd go out of my 
senses with delight if matters turned out 
as you think." 

'• You are verv disinterested. Sir Geoffrey." 

I40 S USAy DE UMMoyn. 

"Xot I, faith; I know Susan would never 
take from my girl for herself. She'd be 
the making of Gayre — and — and — us all. I 
wonder how it was I never thought of such 
a tliino'? Gad, if it had rested with me 
they should have been man and wife long 
enough ago." 

Mr. Sudlow opened his mouth to reply, 
but an imploring look from Miss Chelston 
caused him to shut it ag?in. "After all," 
slie said, " my uncle may not have an idea 
of the kind." 

" I hope and trust he has," cried Sir 
Geoffrey. "You have brought me the best 
piece of news to-night, Sudlow, I have 
heard for this man}' a day! Susan married 
to Gayre ! why it sounds too good to be 
true. I'll go straight away down to him, 
and ask if there's anything in it. We can 
walk part of the wa^^ together ; " and the 
Baronet rose from his chair with all the 
more alacrity that he thought he now 


saw liis way to getting out of the house 
and rid of his future son-in4aw at the same 

"For heaven's sake, Sir Geoffrey, do no 
such thing!" entreated Mr. Sudlow. "Your 
brother-in-law woukl never forgive me if 
he thought I had been meddHng in his 
concerns. Whatever you do, pray keep 
my name out of the affair ; or, rather, 
refrain from mentioning tlie matter at all. 
I — I may be mistaken ; but I considered it 
only rio'ht to 2rive you a hint. I did not 
know the match was one you would like. 
I fancied there might be objections, both 
on the score of age and fortune." 

" Did you ? " said Sir Geoffrey, grimly. 
" Understand, if you please, I consider 
Susan Drummond a fortune in herself. 
Why, with her family and Gayre's money, 
they might do just what they pleased : and 
as for that trifle of disparity, Gayre is a 
good fellow, and deserves a good wife : 


and, faitli, if lie gets Susan, lie'll have some- 
tliiiig to be proud of." 

" I never admired Miss Drummond par- 
ticularly myself," remarked Mr. Sudlow — 
for which diplomatic speech he was re- 
warded by an appreciative glance from his 
ladj^e-love — "but from the first hour he 
saw her I know Mr. Gayre did." 

" Showed his taste," commented the 
Baronet. " However, I'll take no notice of 
what you have told us. Never spoil sport 
has always been my maxim. Upon my soul, 
I feel as much pleased as if anybody had 
given me a thousand pounds." 

Which creditable feeling was certainly not 
shared by his charming daughter. She knew 
exactly what Mr. Sudlow was thinking, and 
her own opinion chanced to be identical with 
his. If Mr. Gayre married Susan he would 
not feel disposed to endow his niece with 
all he possessed. Miss Chelston had long 
fastened her gaze on the Lombard Street 


coffers, and it could not be said slie re- 
garded with pleasure the idea of Susan 
getting any share of the spoil. 

'•Don't say anything more about this 
before papa," she hinted, during a brief 
absence of Sir Geoffrey for the purpose of 
draining a bumper to the health of the 
future Mrs. Gayre. '• Do you think my 
uncle is really thinking of marrying dear 

" I am quite sure he would like to marry 
her," answered Mr. Sudlow ; and then he 
explained how the knowledge had come 
upon him like a flash of lightning. " Ton 
my honour, a child might have knocked me 
down," he finished. 

"It was wonderfully clever of you," said 
Miss Chelston, with a pleasant flattery of 
voice, and word, and look ; " but then you 
are so clever. Don't you think the disparity 
is dreadful, however?" 

" Yes ; but if Miss Drummond does not 


mind that, I am sure Mr. Gayre need not." 
" 0, don't ; I can't bear to think of it," 
murmured Miss Chelston, shuddering ; and 
then Sir Geoffrey, refreshed and invigorated, 
sauntered back into the room, where he 
be^an to yawn with such orood effect that 
Mr. Sudlow felt rekictantly compelled to say 

" Now, look here, my girl," said Sir 
Geoffrey to his daughter, as he took his 
hat, preparatory to getting the " cobwebs 
blown off* him," " take my advice, and 
neither mell nor meddle in this business. 
You'd love dearly, I know, to stop the 
match, but it will be a deuced fine thing 
for you should it ever come off". As for 
Susan, if she can fancy your uncle — and 
he is not an old man for his age ; he hasn't 
had to bear the anxiety I have — I'm sure 
she'll never repent taking him. When she 
comes here keep a quiet tongue about the 
matter. We'll want your uncle's help yet, 


I'm afraid, in that matter of the Sudlow 
fish ; so for the Lord's sake don't let any 
of your woman's whimsies put his back 

Only to a certain extent did Miss Chelston 
comply with Sir Geoffrey's wishes. Miss 
Drummond spent a few hours at North Bank 
one day, and promised to return shortly and 
stop for a fortnight. It was then she and 
her friend had a serious talk about the 
Sudlow engagement. 

" Margaret ! don't marry him ; don't, 
like a darling," entreated Susan, at the 
close of a long and confidential interview. 
" You do not care for him, and you do 
care for Lai Hilderton." 

Miss Chelston laughed scornfully. 

" Should you recommend me to marry 
Lai and make as good a match as you 
seem disposed to do ? " 

"Perhaps not," said Susan, "for there is 
that reason, you know, which might cause 

"Vol. ii. 32 

1 46 S us AN DB UMMOXD. 

anyone to feel afraid of marr3dng Lai ; but 
you have led liim on and on, and — " 

"Xow, remember, I cannot bear being 
lectured, more particularly by you," inter- 
posed Miss Chelston. 

"Well, then, tell Mr. Sudlow you can't 
marry him, and I won't say another word. 
Eecollect, so long as I have a home you 
need never want one. And I am sure — " 

" Make yourself very sure, dear, I mean 
to marry Mr. Sudlow. I shall not so far 
insult my own taste as to say he is the 
man I would have chosen. But bego'ars^ 
you know — " 

"0 Mao'oie, Mao-oie!" 

"0 Susan! At the end of twelve 
months I wonder which of us will be tlie 
best off? " 

" Good-bye, then, you poor mistaken 
child, and remember what I said." 

"I certainly shall not forget a word you 
have said, dear ; " and with a sweet smile, 


Miss Clielston kissed lier friend and saw- 
Susan depart, and then sat down biding 
her time, which arrived that evening before 

Mr. Sudlow was in evidence ; Sir Geoffrey 
in high spirits, because his brother-in-law 
had walked up to Xorth Bank ; Mrs. Morris 
was putting the finishing touches to her 
toilette ; Mr. Gayre was looking at the 
evening paper, when, in quite an artless 
and gushing manner, Miss Chelston opened 
her first parallel. 

'•I have such a piece of news for 3'ou, 
papa," she said, gaily. 

" Good news. Peg ? " 

" Very good ; it concerns Susan Drum- 

"Let's hear it, then," cried the Baronet. 

" She is going to be married " — involun- 
tarily Sir Geoffrey turned towards Mr. 
Gay re, but that gentleman never moved 
nor stirred, neither did the crisp sheet he 



held rustle — " to Oliver Dane. You remem- 
ber Oliver, don't you? Old Mr. Dane's 
grandson," went on the fair Margaret, 
almost without a pause, and maintaining 
an admirable composure. "He is at present 
in some house in the City — Colvend and 
Surlees — but he is going to start on his 
own account, whatever that means, and the 
wedding is to take place before Christmas." 

"I don't think it will," said Mr. Gayre 
from behind his newspaper ; and as he spoke 
a dead silence fell on those present — they 
were waiting to hear more. 

" Mr. Oliver Dane,'' proceeded the banker, 
dehberately folding up the Globe, " was this 
day charged at the Mansion House by his 
employers, Colvend and Surlees, with forgery 
and embezzlement, and remanded, bail being 



^^HAELY next morning Mr. Gay re was 
MmMf^ makino; his way into the Camden 
Eoad. Overnight, pacing the silent desolate 
streets, he had decided what to do. He 
would break the news to Susan. Unless 
Fortune meant to turn utterly against him, 
he felt that he should be the first to carry 
the tidings out to Enfield, and so score one 
trick in a game that would require the most 
careful playing. While his niece was firing 
her shot about Oliver Dane, it had seemed to 
him that he fell from heaven to earth. The 
whole time occupied by her narrative could 
have been reckoned by seconds, yet years ere 
then had appeared to him a shorter period. 


How lie had held his paper so that it 
did not even rustle, how he compelled liis 
voice to utter the words he spoke without 
a tremor, were m^^steries he could not have 
explained himself. Save for a certain ring 
of triumph in his tone he was unable to 
repress, Oliver Dane and Susan Drummond 
might have been total strangers to the banker. 

This was the hidden rock he had always 
instinctively known stood in his way to port. 
Xow he fully understood the reason of 
Susan's unaccountable blushes. At last he 
comprehended why she was at once so 
friendly and so indifferent. Everything 
which had puzzled him about the girl Avas 
clear at last ; far, far too clear. But she 
could not marry this man. All Vv^as not lost. 
On the contrary, in this awful trouble he 
would be of such comfort, he would so 
watch over her, so sympathise with her every 
mood, that for very gratitude's sake she 
must at lenfrth orive him love. And then 


he strove to think he would rather not 
change matters even if he could. It was 
far, far better she should have had a lover 
and found him worthless. At his age it 
was scarcely to be expected a young girl 
could give him the first, romantic, unreal 
dream-love of a w^oman's life ; but the love 
that lasts would be his — the love founded 
on a rock — on respect, esteem, reason, and 
affection. Xo more wild, unpractical, dan- 
gerous friendships with handsome young 
fellows like Lai Hilderton ; no running about 
at the beck and call of that sinful repro- 
bate Sir Geoffrey ; no more gallops with hei 
easy familiar cousin the centaur. The bright- 
ness of her morning was gone, and she 
would now settle down and make a more 
charming wife, with the traces of tears on 
her cheeks, than she ever could have done 
in the sunshine of a ridiculous and im- 
possible engagement. 

It is always wise to make the best of a 

1 52 >S' US AX DB UMMOND. 

bad bargain; and as Mr. Gayre rode 
leisurely along, he became so exceeding- 
wise that he finally felt thankful such a 
person as Oliver Dane was in existence. 

" I will make myself necessary now," he 
decided ; " and, when her sorrow is a little 
spent, she will not be able to do without me." 

A pleasant vision, truly. Poor dear 
ISusan, with those wonderful brown eyes, 
coming to him, not as a ministering angel, 
but as a sorely wounded dove, weeping- 
out her grief on his bosom, sobbing her 
tears in his arms, feehng him a tower of 
refuge in her time of trouble, and giving 
this disinterested suitor the last, best, 
strongest love of a strong unselfish nature ! 

Men of Mr. Gayre's type are all too apt 
to imagine Providence delights to play 
into their hands. 

Certainly on that autumn morning, be- 
tween six and seven o'clock, Mr. Gayre 
felt God was on his side. 


The longer lie thought about the matter 
the more satisfied he became that things 
were working round to promote liis own 
liappiness and Susan's welfare. 

Out of evil crood would come. When 
she had got over the fret of losing her 
lover, she would bring him, Xicholas, the 
whole of her great, loyal heart. Had 
the man died, had untoward circumstances 
separated her from Oliver Dane, she might 
never have recovered the blow. But 
forgery, embezzlement, the dock, and a 
felon's doom, must, he argued, hurt a 
woman's pride, and crush her love, and 
clear the course for a suitor Hke him- 
self, unexceptionable in all respects save 
that unlucky item of age. Xot for one 
moment did it ever occur to Mr. Gayre 
that Oliver Dane might be innocent. He 
knew Colvend and Surlees well. Mr. Col- 
vend, indeed, kept his private account at 
Gayres', and he had often heard that gen- 


tleman speak in almost affectionate terms of 
young Dane, " remanded on the previous 
afternoon, bail being refused." 

He was aware that at one time Mr. 
Colvend had thou^-ht of takino- his clerk 
into partnership. Such a termination of 
the business connection was spoken about 
both by Mr. Colvend and Mr. Surlees. Of 
late Mr. Surlees, however, had seemed dis- 
satisfied with their employe. The question 
possessed so httle interest for Mr. Gayre, 
that when both principals wrangled a little 
about Dane, he onl}' considered that per- 
son a ])ore ; l)ut now he remembered all 
their utterances, and came to the conclu- 
sion the young man must have been en- 
gaged in a course of fraud for years. He 
knew Mr. Dane's appearance perfectly well 
— his voice, accent, and manner had always 
struck the banker as quite unsuitable to 
his actual station. 

'• A. u'entleman to the backbone, sir," old 


Mr. Colvencl remarked ; and now that 
'' gentleman " was as good as convicted. 

" Surlees is not a person to show 
mercy," considered Mr. Gayre. " It will 
1)e penal servitude. Well, not so long ago 
lie would have been hanged I " Cheered 
by which consolatory reflection the banker 
proceeded on his way. 

It was a lovely morning. The Seven 
Sisters' Eoad looked its best as Mr. Gayre 
rode along. Tottenham Yalley, which lies 
just behind the Manor House Tavern, 
seemed literally steeped in sunshine ; the 
morning air blew fresh and pleasant ; the 
ground was hard, and echoed cheerily the 
sound of the horses' hoofs. Yes, though the 
]j1ow had been severe, Mr. Gayre felt he 
was recovering from it. Things were not 
so bad that they might not have been a 
great deal worse. This troul^le, pi'operl}^ 
utilised, must draw Susan nearer to him 
— nearer and' nearer still. Xow he knew 

156 S us AX DR UMMOXD. 

his ground, and lie liad never known it 
before. Putting up liis horse at a tavern 
in Enfield Highway, he walked on to Islxs. 
Arbery's house. As he pushed open the 
small gate he caught the flutter of a 
woman's dress in the garden ; and, next 
moment, Susan turned and saw him. 

"Wliy, Mr. Gayre," she cried, "what 
has brought you here so early? How is 
Maggie ? There is nothing wrong with Sir 
Geoffrey, is there ? " 

She did not know, she had not a notion 
of the trouble impending ; and for a mo- 
ment Mr. Gayre's heart smote him when 
he thought of the sorrow he was bring- 
ing to the dear fair girl, who had never 
looked sweeter or lovelier than at that 

"My niece is well, thank you," he an- 
swered, "and Sir Geoffrey was well also 
when I saw him last night. I have come 
to see you. Miss Drummond. I want to 


tell you something I tliink you would 
ratlier hear from me than — strangers." 

"Somethino' bad?" 

" I feel you will — I know you must — 
think so." 

" Wliom does it concern ? " 

"Mr. Dane." 

" My God ! " — her lips rather shaped 
the words than said them — "is he ill, or 


"Neither. But let us go into the house. 
This garden is so exposed, and — " 

Without a word she led him into the 
pleasant drawing-room, which commanded 
a view of Sewardstone and the Essex hills ; 
shut the door close ; and then, turning 
to the banker, said, 

"Xow, what is it?" 

" I bring very bad news." He hesitated. 

" I know you do ; what is it, Mr. Gayre ? 
Don't keep me in suspense. What is it 
vou have come to tell me?" 

1 58 S USA^' DB UMMONI). 

" Have you read this morning's paper ? " 

"No, I have not looked at it. Oh, Mr. 
Gayre, what is wrong — what has hap- 
pened ? " 

For answer he produced a copy of the 
Times, which he had boui>-ht on the road, 
and i>ave it into her hands, indicatinir 
a particular paragraph. 

" I thought," he repeated, " you would 
rather hear of this from me than another." 

She did not answer. She was reading 
the brief passage in yesterday's police 
report, whicli told her her ship had gone 
to pieces on the breakers. She finished 
it to the end ; then lifted her eyes to 
Mr. Gayre's with a look of dumb entreaty 
which haunts him even now. 

" My love ! my love ! " she murmured, 
and sat down transformed. 

The Susan of old would never walk 
among the flowers in Mr. Arbery's garden 
again. That Susan was dead and buried 


and Mr. Gayre stood marvelling to see the 
clianore. Coming' events cast tlieir shadows 
before ; and the banker now understood 
that yearnmg look m those sweet brown 
eyes. The minor chord that gave such 
a strange sadness every now and then to 
the music of her young life meant that 
trouble was on its way to meet her — the 
crushing trouble she now saw face to face. 

Minutes passed, but she never spoke. 
After tliat one cry of agonised despair 
she sat silent and motionless, while Mr. 
Gayre, unable to suggest one word of 
comfort, stood looking at her, with a 
great pity and a wild jealousy and a mad 
joy all contending together in his breast. 

Through the window which looked out 
on the Essex hills, bright sunshine fell 
in golden bars across her hair, her white 
soft throat, her hands lying loosely clasped 
together in her lap. The girl's whole 
attitude was that of utter abandonment. 

1 60 5 us AX BE UMMOyjD. 

For the moment she seemed stricken down. 
She and hope and youth and gaiety had 
shaken hands and parted. To have seen 
her then, any one might have imagined 
Susan Drummond would never laugh or 
smile or jest again. The iron had entered 
into her soul. Forgery, embezzlement! The 
words were branded on her heart. The 
man she knew so well, the man she loved, 
accused of such awful crimes ! It ap- 
peared impossible ; and yet there before 
her eyes lay the story in black and white. 
His accusers said he had forged their signa- 
ture ; the proceeds of his imputed crime 
were found at his lodgings. The notes 
paid over the counter of the Union Bank 
were discovered in his portmanteau, which 
was packed as if for a journey. What 
did it all mean? Tossing in a sea of 
distressed conjecture, Susan still held fast 
to one saving rope — he icas innocent. If 
the whole world declared him guilty she 


would not believe the verdict. In some 
moment of mental aberration she might 
have committed a great sin (Susan felt 
she would do wickedness for the sake of 
those she loved); but Oliver Dane? No! 
While the sun rose and the sun set she 
could never believe that. He might have 
faults, and he had — Susan knew them — 
but he was perfectly incapable of such an 
act as this. He would want her. Vaguely 
this blessed thought began to shoot up — 
two fair green leaves of promise to beau- 
tify the arid desolation of the barren land 
to which she had been so suddenly trans- 
ported. He could not do without her 
help. He had no relation, she knew, 
who would come forward at such a 
crisis. To all useful intents and pur- 
poses, he and she stood utterly alone 
in the world. Adam and Eve were 
perhaps less solitary in the Garden of 
Eden than her lover and herself in what 

Vol. ii. 33 

1 62 S us AX DB UMMOND. 

some persons consider this over -populated 

Directly that idea of help crossed her 
mind, she looked at her watch, and said, 

" There is an up-train in about twenty 
minutes. I shall just be able to catch 
it, Mr. Gayre, if you will excuse me." 

" Catch it ! Where are you thinking 
of a'oin^ ? " 

"To Oliver. I must go to him at once^ 
you know " 

" No ; by Heaven, that you sha'n't ! " 
broke out Mr. Gayre, fiercely ; then re- 
collecting himself, he added, " Can't 3^ou 
trust me. Miss Drummond? Only say 
what you want done, and I will try to 
do it. If time, or money, or influence 
can help you in this strait, command all 
so far as they are within the compass 
of my power." 

" Thank you," she answered, earnestly, 
" thank you ; " and almost involuntarily 


she stretcliecl out lier liaiid, wliicli lie 
took and held in both of his while she 
went on. "We are so lonely, Mr. Gayre : 
we are so far more lonely than any 
human being could imagine." 

He bent his head and kissed her hand 
— that white hand which she made no 
attempt to withdraw, Avhich lay in his 
as a frightened bird nestles in the palm 
of someone Avho has rescued it from 
fear and death. 

" If you can trust me — " he was be- 
ginning, when the door opened and Mrs. 
Arbery's voice was heard exclaiming a 
little sharply : 

" What are you doing ? Breakfast is 

ready, Susan." Then, catching sight of 

Mr. Gayre, who was standing ver}^ close 

to her niece — indeed, quite bending over 

that young person in a manner Avhicli 

seemed to indicate private communications 

of importance were passing between them 


1 64 S us AX BR uMMoyn. 

— slie added, in a tone of severe and 
astonished dignity, "I bee/ your pardon, 
I am sure." 

" Come in, aunt," said Susan, " we are 
not talking about any matter wliicli can 
be kept secret. Will you tell her, Mr. 
Gayre ? " and the girl turned her face, 
from which all the delicate rosebud pink 
had flown, towards the window, and 
looked with unseeing eyes at the distant 
hills, wliile the story of Oliver Dane's 
downfall was recited for Mrs. Arbery's 
benefit. It was a long story which did not 
take lono' in the tellino\ The bare facts 
contained enouo'h of sorrow and disgrace 
without any necessity for further detail. 
Mr. Gayre said as little as he well could, 
but that little proved more than sufficient. 
If Susan's lover had been tried, convicted, 
and sent to penal servitude, Mrs. Arbery 
could not have felt more fully convinced 
of his guilt. 


She listened to the narrative in utter 
silence, and when it was finished said 

" I am not at all surprised." 

" No ? " questioned Mr. Gayre, for Susan 
did not speak. 

" He is a young man I never liked," 
Mrs. Arbery explained. "It was an en- 
gagement I never approved." 

"You cannot mean, aunt, that you be- 
lieve him guilty ? " 

" I certainly do not mean that I be- 
lieve him innocent. Everything is against 

" Yes," said Susan, bitterly. " Every- 
thing is against him, everything has been 
against him ; but that is no reason why 
you should think him a thief. Do you 
suppose if I lieard you or Will had 
committed any sin I should believe the 
story ? Oh, aunt, though you dislike 
Ohver, do not be hard on him. I can't 


bear to liear you speak against the man 
I am going to marry — I can't, I can't ! " 
and her voice trailed away into low 

Mr. Gayre looked at Mrs. Arbery, who, 
la3dng her hand on Susan's shoulder, 

"My dear, I do not wish to be hard 
on him. If he has done wrong he is 
suffering for it ; but as for your ever 
marrying him now, of course — " 

" Are we not to have any breakfast 
to-day ? " cried Will Arbery at this point 
in his mother's diatribe. " Why, what 
has happened? What is the matter?" 
he went on, looking in astonishment at 
the group collected at the upper end of 
that long pleasant drawing-room. " What 
is wrong, Susan ? " 

"Don't tell him," pleaded the girl; "let 
liim read it ; " and as Mr. Gayre handed 
the Times to the younsf man in silence 


she rose, and, twining lier arm about lier 
cousin's neck, looked over liis shoulder 
while he glanced at the brief report. 

" Susan, I am sorry for you ! " he 
exclaimed. " What ought we to do ? 
Mr. Gayre, you know, I suppose, how we 
can be best of use." 

" You believe him innocent. Will ? " 

" Innocent ! Of course I do. It is 
some awful mistake ; it can be nothing 
but a mistake," he added, turning to the 

From the manner in which he uttered 
the words they might have l^een intended 
oither as an interrogation or a statement 
of opinion. Mr. Gayre chose to accept 
them in the former sense, and gravely 
answered that he hoped so. 

"Mr. Dane may be able to explain the 
circumstances. As yet, you must remem- 
ber w^e have only heard one side — that of 
liis employers. When his statement is 


made the wliole complexion of the afiair 
will probably be altered." 

" I do not need to wait for his state- 
ment," said Susan, with streaming eyes. 
"I know." 

Mr. Arbery took a few turns up and 
down the room. 

"Don't you think," he asked, appealing 
once again to Mr. Gayre, " the thing for 
me to do would be to see Mr. Colvend 
at once ? " 

"Better let me do so. I know both 
the partners." 

"It — wasn't at your bank, was it?" 
hesitated Mr. Arbery. 

" Xo ; the Union. Mr„ Colvend only 
kept his private account with us." 

"What sort of a man is he?" 

"Extremely kind. At one time he took 
the hvehest interest in Mr. Dane's future." 

"Do you know Oliver, then?" asked 
Susan, drawing a quick gasping breath. 


" I have seen and spoken to Mr. Dane. 
Had T been aware you were interested in 
liim, Miss Drummond, I should have made 
a point of cultivating his acquaintance." 

" Standing liere talking," remarked Mr. 
Arbery, in a general sort of way, "won't 
mend matters. Mother, if you will give 
me a cup of tea, the sooner I get off the 
better. Cheer up, Susan ; I'll bring you 
back good news, never fear." 

"I am going with you," she said. 

" No, Susan," said Mrs. Arbery. " Un- 
derstand that I distinctly forbid your doing 
anything of the kind. I will not have you 
compromise yourself. You know what i 
have been impressiug upon you for a very 
long time past. You thought me prejudiced, 
and now you see something far worse than 
ever I imagined has come to pass." 

"It is quite true," answered Susan — 
" something much worse than any one 
could ever have imagined has come to 

1 70 S us AS BR UMMOXn. 

pass ; " and she sat down again with some- 
thing more nearly approaching a sullen 
expression clouding her face than Mr. 
Gayre had ever seen disfigure its fair 
beauty before. 

" Shall I send you a cup of tea, dear ? " 
asked her aunt, apparently quite uncon- 
scious of havinof criven any offence ; '* it 
will do you good." But Susan only shook 
her head. 

" Come into the other room, or Mr. 
Gayre won't touch a morsel ; and he has 
ridden a long way to do you a kindness," 
whispered Will Arbery. Whereupon Susan 
rose, and, taking her cousin's arm, walked 
silently across the hall. 

Mr. Gayre watched her at the morn- 
ing meal; which was the great meal ot 
the day in Mrs. Arbery's house. 

She allowed herself to be helped to 
ham. She accepted a proffered egg. She 
took a piece of toast. She did not again 


decline that cup of tea, suggested as 
though a cup of tea were a panacea for 
all the ills of life. She made pretence 
of cutting up and toying with her food ; 
but she touched none of it. She never 
looked at nor spoke to any one. She 
asked no question. She made no remark. 
Will Arbery argued out the Dane compli- 
cation exhaustively, and Mr. Gayre exhibited 
considerable ingenuity in suggesting plausible 
reasons why it seemed the most natural 
tliincr in the world for three hundred 
pounds, paid over the counter at the 
Union Bank, on the strength of Messrs. 
Colvend and Surlees' forged signature, to 
l^e found in the lodgings of one of their 
clerks, a trusted em2:}loye^ a gentleman they 
had once thought of taking into partner- 
ship — but Susan made no sign. 

Mr. Gayre then shifted his ground. 
He spoke of the high opinion he had 
always entertained of Mr. Dane, of the 

1 72 S us AN BR UMMOSD. 

conviction he felt from the beginning 
he was far too clever to be liampered 
with two such partners as Colvencl and 

"Excellent men," proceeded tlie banker, 
warming to his subject, "but fifty years 
at least behind tlie times. Colvend's notions 
are those of the last century." 

Just for the moment a faint flush, or 
quiver of the eyelids, or pitiful tremor of 
the mouth rewarded these utterances ; but 
it was uphill work, and Mr. Gayre felt 
he was growing almost as anxious for the 
moment of departure as Mr. Arbery pro- 
fessed himself to be, when suddenly Miss 
Drummond's eyes, which she had lifted 
for a moment, became larger and brighter; 
her whole manner changed ; her colour 
came and went, and, exclaiming almost 
incredulously, " It's Sir Geoffrey ! it really 
is Sir Geoffrey ! " she ran out of the room 
and opened the hall-door, and met him in 


the middle of the straight prim gravelled 

" Why, Susan, my girl ! '' 

" Sir Geoffrey ! " and then the Baronet 
found himself, for the first, and, it may 
be added, the last, time in his life, holding 
in his arms a perfectly respectable young 
woman utterly beside herself with grief 
and anxiety, and what she considered a 
lack of intelligent sympathy. 

"There, then," said Sir Geoffrey, stroking 
and soothinor her down exactly as he 
might have done had she been a horse, 
"take it quietly, my beauty. There's no- 
tliiuCT really to be frioflitened about. Dane 
— ^Dane's all right, you know. Gayre and 
I will stand bail for him. Tut-tut ! what's 
all this trouble? Bless the creature, how 
she clings to me ! There's nothing wrong ; 
there is nothincr to trouble you ! You 
are safe now your old papa Geoff has 
come to the rescue. Bless you, he'll ^lo 


and rout up the magistrates, and make 
them send your lover back to you at 
once. It is an outrageous proceeding. 
Il^ever lieard of such a thing — never in 
all my life. Now, now, now, don't cry 
any more. If you do, you'll not be able 
to see him when he comes back. What's 
that you are saying? I don't think him 
guilty, do I ? You silly little mortal ! 
Why, I'd just as soon believe myself ca- 
pable of doing such a thing ; " which 
comparison struck Susan even in her then 
state of mind as scarcely conveying the 
amount of comfort Sir Geoffrey amiably 

" Dry your eyes, Susie, and come into 
the house and tell me all you know about 
the matter, and we'll see what's best to 
be done." 

With which and such like fatherly words 
of rebuke and encouragement Sir Geoffrey 
led Susan into the drawing-room, where, 


as lie stated, to liis immense astonislmient, 
lie found Gayre. 

" God bless me ! " lie exclaimed, "to 
think of meeting you, of all men in the 
world, here ! Why, I'd ten minds to call 
for you on my way — I passed the end 
of your street. I've never been home all 
night — but I made sure you were snugly 
tucked up, dreaming of Consols and Lord 
knows what besides ! Now, I caU this 
really friendly of you. I was just saying, 
Mrs. Arbery," he went on, as that lady, 
frigidly decorous and deeply exercised in 
her mind, made her appearance on the 
scene, " that among us we'll put things 
right for our little girl." 

"You mean very kindly, I am sure," an- 
swered Mrs. Arbery, " but there are some 
things which never can be put right. If 
you could only persuade my poor Susan 
of this, you would be performing an act 
of the truest friendship." 

1 76 <S us AX BR UMMOXB. 

"Well see about all tliat after a while," 
answered the Baronet cheerfully ; " time 
enough to discuss all those sorts of questions 
when Dane is able to put his oar in. Xow, 
Susie, wake up and say what you want me 
to do. As I told you, I haven't been to 
bed at all, but that makes no difference — 
I am ready to go anywhere and see any 

" I want you to take me to see Oliver," 
murmured Susan, in so low a tone her 
words failed to reach Mrs. Arbery's ear. 

The girl was still holding Sir Geoffrey's 
arm, and almost whispered her request. 
Just for a moment the Baronet looked 
grave, then he said briskly, 

"So I will — so I will. Eun and put 
your bonnet on, and we can talk as we go 

" Sir Geoffrey," broke in Mrs. Arbery, " I 
really cannot allow my niece to go to 
London with you." 


" Very sorry indeed to hear it." 

" Her eDgagement has been a source of 
disappointment, trouble, and anxiety to me 
ever since I first knew of it." 

" I can well understand that. Engage- 
ments very seldom do meet the approval 
of any save the pair engaged, and their 
satisfaction seldom lasts beyond a week 
after marriage. I myself think the whole 
thing a mistake ; but, bless your soul, you 
might as well try to prevent the sap 
rising as hinder two young people falling 
in love." 

"Young people should fall in love suit- 

" So they ought," agreed the Baronet ; 
" but then, you see, as a rule, they don't, 
and in this world we have to deal with 
things not as they should be, but as they 

" That is very true. Sir Geoffrey," an- 
swered Mrs. Arbery, who in her own family 

Vol. ii. 34 


and amongst lier own friends conducted 
herself after the fashion of a Mede and 
Persian ; " and it is precisely because I 
object to things as they are that I feel 
bound to forbid my niece to hold any 
further communication whatsoever with Oliver 

While Mrs. Arbery was speaking, Sir 
Geoffrey felt Susan's hand slip from his 
arm, and saw her gliding out of the room 
through the nearest door. He listened 
gravely to all the " elderly party " had to 
advance, then took up his parable. 

" In my best days," he began, " I never 
was what is called a ladies' man " (Mr. 
Gayre smiled grimly) ; " but I believe I 
understand the sex ; or, to be more exact, 
I feel the sex is made up of a number 
of women differing mightily from each 
other, which is a fact your ladies' man 
never can grasp. I don't attempt to 
generalise men. Why should I attempt to 


ueneralise women ? And so, to return to 
what I had to say, don't you curb up 
Susan too ti<:rht. If you do she'll sive 
you a lot of trouble. Take the right way 
with her, and, bless your soul, I"d under- 
take to drive her with silken thread ; 
take the wrong way, and — "' 

" So far as I understand your mode of 
speech," said Mrs. Arbery, white almost 
with passion, "you mean to encourage my 
unfortunate niece in pursuing a line of 
conduct opposed at once to propriety and 
common sense P " 

" I always lament havino- to disagree 

with a lady," said Sir Geoffrey, with a low 

bow — the one gentlemanlike talent the 

Baronet possessed was his bow, afoot or 

on horseback — " but as you drive me into 

a corner, I feel bound to tell you plainly 

I consider propriety and common sense 

were never opposed to anything Susan 

Drummond liked to do. If you can show 



me that tliey were, I will abandon common 
sense, and ' go in ' for another and better 
sense called Susan Drummond." 

"Bravo, Chelston ! " cried Mr. Gayre, 
almost involuntarily. In acknowledgment 
of which the Baronet said : 

"All right, Gap-e ; thank ye." 

" And despite of what I say, and Mr. 
Gayre said when he first came this morn- 
ing, you actually mean to take Susan to 
see a felon?" went on Mrs. Arbery. 

"Softly, softly," entreated Sir Geofii'ey. 
" Wait at least till the man is proved 
guilty before you call him hard names. 
And even supposing the worst comes to 
the worst " 

"^Vliicli it must," interrupted Mrs. Arbery, 
with great decision. 

"Well, even in that case, I don't think 
it would be well to use such a word 
when speaking of OHver Dane. We are 
none of us infallible. We don't know 


what we might do if we were tempted. 
A man may make a mistake, but — " 

"These fine distinctions are quite thrown 
away on me," retorted Mrs. Arbery. 
" Eight is right, and wrong is wrong." 

" Ohver has done no wrong, aunt," said 
Susan, re-entering the room at this junc- 
ture. " Give me some good wish before 
I go — some good wish for both of us ; " 
and she held up her sweet face to be 

But Mrs. Arbery woukl not kiss her. 
Once again she expressed her disapproval 
of the whole expedition, and was especially 
irate against her son, who, declaring Susan 
should go where she liked, and that he 
would go with her, drew his cousin's hand 
within his arm, and angrily left the house, 
leaving Sir Geoffrey and Mr. Gayre to 
follow at their leisure. 

SIR Geoffrey's idea. 

^j^T was a fortniglit later. Oliver Dane 
pJP 'liad once again been brought before 
the magistrate, and committed for trial. 
The evidence against him was conclusive ; 
not a creature except Susan believed in 
his innocence. Even Sir Geoffrey, who 
said he was " deuced sorry for the fellow, 
deuced sorry indeed," shook his head 
mournfully, and lamented over the weak- 
ness of poor human nature which, he 
implied, was alone responsible for ruining 
the whole, future of " as promising a young 
man as you would wish to see." 

" Heaven only knows," he exclaimed, 
" what demon could have possessed him. 


I am sure any of liis friends would liave 
found the money. I would, if I'd had it, 
and there were lots, I'll be bound, in the 
same mind. That woman getting the cheque 
cashed was a bad sign — a widow too — and 
handsome, ah ! " and Sir Geoffrey shook his 
head. "There must have been some screw 
awfully loose, Wlierever a woman leads, 
trouble follows. Wonder who she is? 
Awkward mess altogether. Dane is the 
last man in the world I should have 
thought hkely to go wrong in that way ; 
but, dear me, what a dance any petticoat 
may lead the best of us I You and I can't 
be too thankful, Gayre, can we P " 

" Some persons are more lucky than 
wise," agreed the banker, thinking Sir Geof- 
frey was a case in point. 

" That is very true. It is not always 
the best rider clears the ditch. But, as I 
was saying, it is altogether a most con- 
foundedly awkward business. Though I am 

1 84 5 USAN DE UMMOyD. 

sorry for Dane, I don't think he is doing 
right, and I told him so. 'You ought to 
plead guilty, and settle Susan's mind,' I 
said. ' If the case were mine I could not 
keep a girl on the tenter-hooks. This sort 
of thing might be all very well in dealing 
with a man, but it isn't fair to a woman.'" 

" And what did he say ? " asked ^ir. Gayre. 

" Just the usual thing — that he could 
not tell an untruth even to settle Susan's 
mind ; that he had not forged the signa- 
ture ; that the money was forwarded to his 
lodgings by some one unknown ; that he 
had his suspicions ; that unless he could 
change them into certainties it would be 
worse than useless to speak ; that he quite 
understood it was impossible for Susan now 
to marry him ; that the engagement must 
be considered at an end ; that his life was 
wrecked ; that she, the noblest of women, 
must not sacrifice her life through any mis- 
taken idea of loyalty to him ; that her de- 


votion was the bitterest drop in a bitter 
cup ; that he had not the shghtest hope of 
an acquittal; but that he could not plead 
guilty, or tell Susan he was dishonoured in 
deed as well as in the eyes of the world. 
Then I said, ' Your boasted affection is a 
very poor sort of affection ; I would not 
treat any girl after such a fashion. I am 
disappointed in you. I- knew your father 
to be a fool, and your grandfather a screw, 
but I did not think you were a scoundrel.' " 

"Eather rough on the fellow," com- 
mented Mr. Gayre. 

" Eough ! not a bit too rough ! ' Look 
at what the consequences will be ! ' I said. 
" 'Susan is just the girl to exalt you into a 
sort of martyr. !She will go on believing 
in and fretting about you. She will lose 
her youth and her good looks. Slie will 
not marry, and, if she do not die, she will 
live a sad sweet old maid, nursing other 
folks' babies instead of her own.' " 

1 86 S US AX DB VMM OX D. 

" You drew quite a touching picture," 
said Mr. Gayre. 

"And then he wouldn't," declare:! the 

Baronet, with a great oath. " Xo, me 

if he would! 1 don't know when I went 
throuc^h such an interview, and without a 
drop of anything either to give me a fillip. 
Give you my word, Gayre, I felt quite ex- 
hausted when I came out. Had to go into 
the nearest pub, and ask leave to sit down. 
It's heartless, you know ; that's what it is, 
Hang it ! I'm not particular, you are aware. 
If a man commits a crime I wouldn't turn 
my back on him ; but to keep on with this 
sort of infernal humbug to a girl like 
Susan Drummond, why — why, it's the very 
deuce ! " finished the Baronet, who was de- 
livering these sentiments in his own house 
and at his own table. 

"I suppose it is not on the cards 
that the man may be, by possibility, 
innocent ? " 


" Innocent ! for Heaven's sake, Gavre, 
don't you get sentimental ! It's all very 
well to liumour Susan's notion for a while, 
and let the girl down gently ; but we, who 
have been out in the world, and know a 
thing or two, must not talk like children. 
Eun your eye over the whole matter. 
Here's a young fellow brought up by a 
grandfather, who won't allow him sixpence 
of pocket-money, and puts him into an at- 
torney's office. Young fellow won't be an 
attorney, goes and enlists ; old Drummond 
buys him off, and has him stopping at the 
Hall for a while. Then he falls in love 
with Miss Susie ; grandfather, delighted, 
thinks she will be an heiress ; grandfather 
finds out she won't be an heiress, and in- 
sists on the engagement being broken off; 
young man comes up to London in a huff, 
and, through favour, get's into Colvend's 
house. Everybody believes it's all over be- 
tween him and Susan. Eventuallv the 


grandfather makes some conditional sort of 
promise to find money enongli to bu}^ a 
small share in the bnsiness. After a while, 
Surlees begins to find fault with the young 
man, the idea of the partnership is aban- 
doned, and Dane announces his intention 
of s'oinof into business on his own account. 
Grandfather discovers he and Susan mean 
to be married, and declares he will cut 
youHK man off with a shillino^. Youno- man 
has got a little into debt, and wants money 
besides for capital. Surlees gets a hint 
that all is not square, and begins to look 
into matters, which present some serious 
complications. Holds his tongue to make 
quite sure — means to speak to Dane when 
he has all the proofs complete. At that 
juncture a three-hundred-pound cheque, 
signed Colvend and Surlees, is presented 
across the Union counter and paid. Xotes 
are found in Dane's rooms, in a portman- 
teau ready packed. Make what you can of 


tlie case, my friend — it looks confoundedly 
black against Mr. Oliver." 

" Yes," agreed Mr. Gayre — " yes." 
"But tliere is no good in talking to 
Susan yet. I told you exactly ^Yllat would 
happen if Mrs. Arbery persisted in taking 
up tlie curb another link. Most foolish, 
self-opinionated old woman. Tliinks be- 
cause she won't drink half a pint of ale, 
the Almighty has given her dominion over 
every living thing that movetli upon the 
earth. If she had only let Susan go her 
own way at her own pace for a while she 
would not have sent the girl mad, as she 
has done. When she told me about Susan 
having left Enfield, and taken up her abode 
with Miss Matthews, I said, 'It's your own 
fault, ma'am ; she'd never have got the bit 
between her teeth if you'd driven her 
easily. But, bless my soul and body, there 
are other persons in the world who have a 
will beside Mrs. Arberv. Xo — excuse me — 

1 90 5 USAN DR VMM OS D. 

I can't o'et tlie ^iii back ; and if I could, 
I wouldn't try. Tlie end of it will be she'll 
marry Oliver Dane.' " 

" But you don't really think that likely ? " 
exclaimed Mr. Gayre. 

"I'll tell you what I think — that Dane 
won't marry her. How could he ? The 
dear grandfather will give him nothing ; 
Susan has but two thousand pounds. Say 
he only gets a couple of 3^ears, what w^ill 
he be fit for when he comes out ? No, the 
thing is not to be thought of. But our 
plan at present is to take no notice — to 
her, at any rate. After the trial we'll see 
what we had better do." 

" Miss Drummond appears to have no 
doubt of his innocence." 

Sir Geoffrey shrugged his shoulders. " All 
the fault of the old party out at Enfield 
Highway. She would tighten that curb. 
It's just the same with a woman as a 
horse ; and you know, Gayre, the result of 


fretting a young liigli-spirited creature by 
holding it in wlien there's no need to do 
anything of the sort. Bless you, I always 
try to give them their liead for a bit ; and 
if Mrs. Arbery had taken no notice, and let 
Susie have her own way about this con- 
founded business, the o'irl would have be^iin 
to entertain doubts concernino; her lover, 
and wanted to know who the woman was, 
and why Surlees could not get on with 
friend Oliver, and so finally come gradu- 
ally round to a sensible view of the 
matter ; whereas — " and the Baronet, find- 
ing words inadequate to express the pass 
to which Mrs. Arbery 's management had 
brought affairs, poured himself a good 
measure of champagne into a large tumbler, 
"throwing on the top," as he expressed 
the matter, "just a flavour of brandy." 

If Sir Geoffrey had not been a baronet 
the mode in which he tossed off this 
bumper and smacked his lips approvingly 

192 >S US AX Dli UMMOND. 

after it might have been considered vulgar r 
but circumstances alter cases, and circum- 
stances altered most cases with Mr. Gayre's 

"All," said Sir Geoffrey, leaning back 
in his chair, stretching out his feet to the 
fire, and looking with an air of childlike 
contentment at the leaping flame, "you may 
talk as you like about your clarets — ! " 

" I am not aware that I have spoken 
about clarets at all," mildly remonstrated 
the banker. 

"Deeds speak as loud as words, and 
you always drink that poor thin sour stuff 
— for poor and thin and sour it is, though 
you do pay a price which makes my hair 
stand on end ; but then a rich banker is 
one quantity and a poor baronet another. 
However, as I was remarking, you may 
depend upon it a man's face takes the 
cast of the tipple he affects. Now claret 
produces lines, wrinkles, and gives a sneer- 


ing sort of expression to tlie countenance. 
I'd drop it if I were you, and go in for 
something more generous and exhilarating. 
Why should you look older than your 
age ? You are a mere boy in comparison 
to the battered craft you are good enough 
to call brother-in-law. Let me see, you 
are younger tlian poor Margaret — " 

The banker shook his head. 

"Well, the difference either way, I 
know, is very trifling, and we know what 
a baby thing she was when I married 
her. Why don't you turn your attention 
to matrimony, Gayre ? If you can't make 
up your mind to the widow — and I sup- 
pose you can't or you'd have been step- 
father to the Jubbins fry long ere this — 
there are plenty of girls who, I am sure, 
would be only too glad if you could be 
induced to say a civil word to them." 

"I fancy you are right about the 
widow," went on Sir Geoffrey, finding his 

Vol. ii. 35 


brotlier-in-law did not speak. " Of course 
slie lias money; but then you have plenty 
of your own, and money is not everything^ 
though it is a great deal, as nobody knows 
better than I do. Why shouldn't you 
marry, and have a nice wife and pleasant 
home? You're just the sort of fellow girls 
would take to, and make up romances 
concerning. I know them ; bless your soul, 
they'd turn you into a hero, and fall 
down and worship at once. Think of it, 
Gayre. 'Pon my honour, I don't like to 
see you drinking claret and living in a 
big house all alone, with only servants 
about you. Providence never intended such 
a thing. It is you that have made the 
mistake ; but you may remedy it yet." 

"If I take to champagne and brandy 
and making love to young ladies?" ques- 
tioned the banker. 

"I don't suppose you would care to 
make love to old ladies, which, by-the-bye. 


reminds me of something I wanted to say 
to you. I shan't be able to induce Mrs. 
Morris to stop on ; and I declare solemnly 
I haye not chucked her under the chin 
or insisted on her dancing a fandango^ 
" Why does she wish to go, then ? " 
" The usual thing ; all women are alike ; 
they haye a craze for what they call 
respectability, and a knowledge of what 
constitutes impropriety, which knowledge I 
myself regard as sinful. Mrs. Morris has 
arriyed at the conclusion this house is not 
an abode in which she ought to continue 
to reside. She has her doubts about it 
and me. She fails to understand why 
yisitors do not call; why my daughter is 
not asked out ; why we neyer giye parties ; 
why you have not Peg staying in Wimpole 
Street ; why I can't be induced to return 
to six o'clock tea, nine o'clock jirayers, 
and eleven o'clock bed; why we have not 
more servants ; why we do not keep a 


1 96 6^ r.S^Y DB UMMOSD. 

carriage ; why I run household bills ; why 
I do not pay eyery fellow who has a 
' heayy account to make up.' She feels, 
in fact, the air of Xortli Bank may be 
injurious to her social health. It seems 
she has got a presentation to Christ's 
Hospital for the boy. So now, as she can 
do without me, she means to leaye. Xice 
and grateful, is it not P " 

" How extremely awkward ! " said Mr. 

" I wanted her to stop till Peggy was 
married, but no she won't. ' My dear 
Mrs. Morris,' I urged, ' you haye surely 
reached a time of life when you might 
be able to defy Mrs. Grundy and all her 
works.' " 

" ' No woman is eyer so old as to be 
able to disregard appearances. Sir Geoffrey,' 
she replied ; ' and for myself, though I 
have a grandson — ' " 

" ' Yes, yes, yes,' I interrupted, ' I know 


you were married at sixteen and your 
daughter at fifteen — the usual thing — so 
you can't be much over thirty ; but 
still— ' " 

" ' Pardon me,' she returned, ' I am over 
forty (upon my soul, Gayre, she must 
be close on seventy), but I feel it is 
as imperative for me to regard my cha- 
racter now as I did when I was in my 
teens.' " 

" ' Most creditable, I am sure,' I re- 
plied ; ' but forgive me if I ask what is 
the good of shouting "Wolf!" when there 
is not an animal of the sort outside the 
Zoological Gardens ? Let us walk across 
and see the wolves, Mrs. Morris, and say 
you will stop a little while longer.'" 

" But she wouldn't, Gayre ; she was as 
stiff as you please. She set her lips tight 
and she drew down her nose (have you 
ever remarked the stiff-neckedness of Mrs. 
M.'s nose P), and looking straight at me, 


and, fixing me witli those steel-blue eyes 
of liers, said, ' You must excuse me, 
Sir Geoffrey, but my mind is quite made 
up. Miss Matthews told me from the first 
your place would not suit me, and she 
was right. The place does not suit me; 
and if I may venture to say so, your 
place would not suit -any gentlewoman who 
respected herself.' " 

"What are we to do about Maggie, 
then ? " 

"That is just what I wanted to talk 
over with vou. I have been trvino- to o'et 
one of Lai Hilderton's old aunts — people 
I had Peg with when they were in Wales 
— to come up from Eichmond and take 
charge, but it was no use. They say 
she has treated Lai iniquitously, and that 
in consequence their dear nephew has 
taken to smoking, drinking, and going to 
tlie deuce generally, which of course is 
pleasant for a father to hear." 


"My fair niece can't help flirting, and 
I do not think Mr. Lionel Hilderton 
required any goading along the road to 

" Precisely my own idea ; thank you, 
Gay re. Now I am going to propose some- 
thing I know will astonish you, but don't 
make any rash comment till you have con- 
sidered the matter in all its bearings. Tlie 
right jyerson to take charge of Peg is her 
mother ; and if youll help me a bit with the 
pecuniary part of the matter, I am willing 
to let l^ygones be bygones, and for the 
sake of my girl make it up with your sister." 

" You cannot be serious, Chelston." 

" I never was more serious in my life. I 
have a right to take back my wife if I like. 
The story is an old one now. At the time 
many persons thought Margaret was, 
many imagined we separated by mutual con- 
sent, many that I was the sinner ; only a 
ver}' few knew the rights of the case. 


Well, we make it up, we take a small 
house somewhere, and there's your natural 
protector for Peg at once. Bless you, I've 
thought it all out, and feel sure this is the 
course we ought to pursue. Don't say any- 
thing yet. Mrs. Morris does not remove 
the light of her countenance for a month. 
Think it over : a mother for Peg, a home 
for Susan, who can't live always with that 
gruesome old maid at Shepherd's Bush, all 
trouble and anxiety ended, a very small 
additional allowance from you, and the thing* 
is complete. I never was a man who thought 
of myself, and I assure you I have forgiven 
Margaret from the bottom of my heart over 
and over again. She was a very sweet girl, 
that sister of yours, Gayre, and I can see her 
now as I saw her that day we first met at 
Brighton ; " and the Baronet stooped, as 
though to hide a tear, while his brother-in- 
law rose and paced the limits of Mr. Moreby's 


At last lie said, 

" You have indeed taken me by surprise, 

" Yes, I tliouglit you would l)e astonished, " 
said Sir Geoffrey, in the tone of a modest man 
who felt serenely conscious he had performed 
a good action. 

"You say you do not expect me to give 
you an immediate answer." 

" Take your time — take your own time," 
observed the Baronet, tolerantly. "I am the 
most considerate man on earth. Xo person 
can say with truth 1 ever made capital out 
of my matrimonial troubles. Xow did I ? " 

" I am very sure you never did," agreed 
Mr. Gayre, thinking as he spoke that he knew 
the reason whv. 

<5~^^ <^illi^ ■^^'^ 



^HATEVEE small amount of comfort 
>li)j|^ it may be i^ossible to extract from 
being the principal figure in a cause celebre 
was denied to Oliver Dane. Nothing could 
have been more prosaic and commonplace 
than his trial. As usual, the Old Bailey was 
crowded ; as usual, the l)enclies were filled 
by that curious class of persons who are to 
l)e found in all parts of London — lounging on 
the seats of the Thames Embankment and 
Leicester Square, in the waiting-rooms of rail- 
way stations, and the Law Courts and the few 
other places of free resort — engaged in the 
herculean task of killing time. Before a com- 
paratively unappreciative audience the great 


scene in liis life's story was played out. 
Fasliionable ladies were conspicuous by their 
absence. Stock Exclianii'e orentlemen, with 
their hats well on the Ijacks of their heads, 
and their hands deep in their trousers- 
pockets, utterly failed to put in an appear- 
ance. The thousand shades of business to 
be met within the confines of the City 
likewise felt the case was one which pre- 
sented no attraction. A defaulting clerk, 
a common case of forgery and embezzlement : 
" Pooh ! not worth crossino- the road to 

A good murder or a big swindle would 
Iiave attracted an appreciative audience ; but 
the crime of which Oliver Dane stood accused 
being common as picking pockets, it was 
before a comparative speaking empt}' house, 
Messrs. Colvend and Surlees' ci-devant clerk 
made his bow. 

Through the windows of what is called 
the Old Court the srav lishts of a winter's 

204 ^ us AX BR CMMOXD. 

day streamed coldly upon audience, judge, 
aldermen, barristers, jury, and prisoner, wlio 
was young, rather over middle height, slight, 
well-formed, dark-haired, dark-e3^ed, stand- 
ing looking calmly at the judge, and quiting 
himself, as even Mr. Gay re could not but 
acknowledge, like a man. Confinement and 
anxiety had worn, but not otherwise changed, 
him. He was still the Oliver of those happy 
blissful days which now seemed further away 
than childhood. And Susan, who, witli a 
httle bunch of forget-me-nots fastened pro- 
minently in her dress, had come to sit out the 
trial, when she saw the dear face of old in 
such a place, felt the hot tears coursing slowly 
down her cheeks and dropping heavily behind 
her veil. On entering the dock for one 
moment he glanced around, and in that 
moment she made the slightest gesture with 
her hand and touched the knot of blue flowers 
nestling in her breast. That was all — but he 
knew. And then, turning his gaze resolutely 


away, lie never again let his e}'e.s stray to- 
wards lier — never once till the trial was over 
and the torture ended. Mr. Gay re sat on one 
side of the girl and ^liss Matthews on the 
other. Will Arbery had left England, and all 
other friends were either witnesses for the 
defence or too angry or indifferent to support 
her lover at such a crisis. But for Susan, 
Oliver Dane might well, just then, have felt 
himself forgotten by God and forsaken by 
man. Innocent or o-uiltv, it seemed as thouo-h 
his fellows had deserted him. In his cell he 
had not felt half so lonely as he did in the 
crowded court. Mr. Gayre he had seen and 
Miss Matthews likewise. Mr. Surlees stood 
near the dock leaning against a partition. 
Familiar as he was with the City, as a matter 
of course, the names and appearances of 
many men present w^ere known to the prisoner. 
He recoo'nised his solicitor talkinor to a man 
he concluded must be the counsel engaged 
for his defence ; a burlv coarse-looking indi- 


vidual, famous for liis still in brow-beating 
witnesses, he was aware had been retained for 
the prosecution. He saw the place of honour 
under the canopy filled by an ex-Lord Mayor, 
gorgeously attired, with the ' sword of justice ' 
hung over his head on the wall behind his 
seat; then his glance wandered to the judge, 
and after that his thouo'hts beo'an to stray. 

It seemed as though all the sin and 
misery of the centuries rose out of their 
forgotten graves, and came trooping, ghostly 
phantoms, into the place which had wit- 
nessed one terrible scene of their earthly 
tragedy. The prison taint was around 
him, the prison smell in his nostrils. He 
could see the dock filled with wretched 
men and despairing women ; widows' sons 
and gray-haired sires ; fingers, soon to be 
cold and still in death, playing nervously with 
the herbs, placed to preserve those who were 
free from prison fever, fever kept for the 
benefit of the captives. 

TI:E TRIAL. 207 

Old stories, long forgotten, recurrecl to 
memory ; all tlie legends of that shameful 
place, where m the name of "Justice," 
so many innocent men were condemned 
in the good old days to infamy, torture, 
and death, came jostling his elbow, laid 
their skeleton hands on his throat, thrust 
their pallid faces between him and the 
judge, and glided — a ghastly, awful pro- 
cession — down the stairs, from step to step 
of which they carried, in dumb agonised 
silence, the burden of their woe. 

All at once a voice brought him back 
from dreamland to the fact that he was the 
latest member of that terrible crowd. On 
the boards where such tragedies had been 
enacted it was his turn to play a minor 

"Guilty or Xot Guilty?" 

"Xot Guilty, my lord." 

And then Mr. Gayre knew Sir Geof- 
frey's pleadings had been, after all, in vain. 


*' It will be of no use urging ex- 
tenuating circumstances after that," thought 
the banker, looking hard at the accused, 
while a feeling of pity, inconsistent in a 
merchant and a rival, stirred his heart. 

At once the court settled to work. 
The prosecutor's case was fully stated. 
No detail wdiicli could hurt the prisoner 
and his friends was spared ; his birth, 
education, antecedents, means, failings, 
were shouted in the ear of the public. 

He was shown to have been always 
isomewhat wild — a l)oy hard to control, 
impossible to train ; a lad determined to 
take his own course to perdition ; a 
youth destitute of gratitude, who turned 
and stung his best l^enefactor, an old 
and infirm gentleman of large fortune and 
the possessor of extensive estates. 

" Our learned friend is a master of his 
craft," thought Mr. Gayre, himself not 
wholly indifferent to the suggested iniquity. 


Sledge-hammer work the learned counsel 
evidently considered quite good enough for 
the Old Bailey and Oliver Dane ; and ac- 
cordingly down he came, mercilessly crush- 
ing all flowers of grace and beauty the 
young man's life might have been sup- 
posed to hold. Everything charming, in 
word, deed, or manner, was either a sin 
or a snare — often indeed both. He had 
bowed his grandfather's gray hairs low 
with sorrow ; he had been seen on race- 
courses drinking champagne and betting 
freely ; he had utterly deceived his excel- 
lent and simple employer, Mr. Colvend ; 
he had been insolent to Mr. Surlees : he 
had declined the chaste pleasures, the 
intellectual converse, of Mr. Colvend's 
house, and descended to the lowest social 
stratum to be found even in London. 
He had consorted with thieves and vaga- 
bonds ; he had gone into their haunts, and 
treated them with oin. One of the frater- 

Vol. ii. 36 


iiity who called at liis lodgings, had been 
invited to partake of mild refreshment, 
which assumed the character of brandy 
in its integrity. He (the learned counsel) 
was aware an endeavour would be made to 
explain away these and other awkward 
facts ; but the overpowering evidence on 
the part of the firm must render all such 
efforts worse than useless. To see a man 
of parts — a gentleman by birth, education, 
association — one who, favoured by Nature 
and caressed by Fortune, might have 
hoped to climb to the highest rung of the 
world's ladder — standing, like the common 
felons with whom he had consorted, in the 
dock, wrung his (the learned counsel's) 
heart — at which point the learned counsel 
thumped that organ. But he had a duty 
to perform, and he meant to perform it, with- 
out fear and without favour, just as he knew 
the intelligent jury he had the privilege to 
address would perform theirs, regardless of 


ridicule, undaunted by calumny, undeterred 
by the false, though amiable, representa- 
tions of the prisoner's too partial friends. 

Stripped of its verbiage, the whole 
speech, which did not occupy above fifteen 
minutes in its delivery, was absurd in the 
extreme — so absurd that Mr. Gayre could 
see even the prisoner's lip quiver under 
his close moustache (" Hang him ! " 
thought the banker ; " this poor dog 
whose day is ended has a sense of 
humour ") ; but it told. Old Bailey juries 
;and the learned counsel w^ere old and 
fast friends. If jurors never exactly un- 
derstood the barrister, the barrister un- 
derstood jurors. 

"They don't want much," he explained, 
in the easy confidence of private life, 
" but they do like it uncommonly strong. 
Pitch into a man, give it him right and 
left, and you get a verdict. Mistakes! 
Eless your innocence " (only the learned 



counsel employed a stronger phrase), " a 
judge of the realm can't make a mistake. 
If a man is not ripe for hanging to-day 
you may feel very sure he will be over- 
ripe next year ; and it is better ta 
garner the criminal crop early rather than 
late ; that is all." And, strongly convinced 
the Oliver Dane crop was ready for the 
sickle, the learned counsel hitched up his 
robe, settled his wig firmly on his head as 
though a thunderstorm were impending, 
and " went for " that ungrateful young* 
gentleman with a fury and acrimony which 
would have delighted those writers for the 
press who denounced the Cato Street con- 
spirators. He, the learned counsel, meant 
to show twelve honest men what an unmi- 
tigated and irredeemable scoundrel the 
prisoner at the bar really was. And then 
he proceeded to examine Mr. Surlees, who 
was the first witness called on behalf of 
the prosecution ; while Susan Drummond 


spoke no word, and turned no look to- 
wards lier companions, though Mr. Gayre 
L^ould see she dug the fingers of one 
hand into the palm of the other till it 
bled ; then she began as of deliberate 
intent and tore her handkerchief into 
-Strips. The banker beckoned his servant, 
who stood not far off, and handed the man 
a leaf from his pocket-book. During the 
course of that trial Susan all unwittingly 
tore ^\e handkerchiefs and a fan to 
tatters, festooned her watch-chain into 
loops till she broke it, slit her gloves be- 
yond the possibility of further use, and 
picked the whole of the fringe off one 
side of her mantle. 

A sadly untrained young woman ! If Sir 
Geoffrey had been going to the scaffold 
Miss Chelston Avould have adjusted every 
frill and tucker, fastened her brooch, 
smoothed her hair, and rubbed her eyes 
into a state of touching redness, ere des- 


cending to receive the condolences of lier 

After all, it must be a great trial to 
people who believe these and such-like 
items compass temporal salvation to meet 
with persons who do not. 

Mr. Surlees, judging from his evidence, 
seemed to be a man who was at one in 
his opinions with Miss Chelston. He had 
never thought Dane a business sort of 
young man ; he considered he was too 
fond of new-fashioned ways. Mr. Colvend 
being infatuated about their clerk, he 
deemed it only his duty to warn his 
partner he did not believe Dane could 
ever become a fitting person to take 
into the house. He had received more 
than one warning about the prisoner- 
half a dozen, perhaps, in all. They as- 
sumed the shape of anonymous letters. 
He could form no idea from whom they 
emanated. In consequence, he examined 


the books. He found some discrepancies 
in tliem ; lie was intending to ask Dane 
to explain, when his attention was called 
to the fact of a cheque being missing. 
His suspicions at once fell on the prisoner. 
He spoke to his partner, who wanted to 
speak to Dane. Instead of speaking to 
Dane, however, a detective was sent for. 
The detective proceeded to the clerk's 
lodgings, where the notes, with which the 
cheque was cashed at the Union, were 
found in his portmanteau, packed as if 
ready for a journey. 

Being cross-examined by Mr. Tirling, the 
prisoner's counsel, Mr. Surlees was en- 
treated to describe his idea of a business 
young man. Mr. Tirling convulsed the 
court, always ready to laugh at nothing, 
but did no good to his client. The airy 
and humorous way in which this learned 
counsel delighted in putting things, in slyly 
chafRng his learned friend, poking fun at 

2 1 6 S US AN Dli UMMOND. 

tlie judge, and driving Mr. Surlees to the 
verge of distraction, amused but did not 
convince twelve " conscientious, impartial 
and intelligent men." 

Mr. Tirling wanted to know more than 
Mr. Clennam ever thought of, when he 
went to the Circumlocution Office. The 
learned counsel commenced ojDerations with 
requiring a definition of a business sort of 
young man — not too fond of new-fashioned 
ways. Finding Mr. Surlees incapable of 
putting his notions into the concrete, he 
asked all sorts of questions concerning the 
model or dream young man. Mr. Surlees 
turning sulky at a very early stage of 
these proceedings, and the judge interposing 
with a remark that he did not really 
think the learned counsel's questions had 
the smallest bearing on the point at issue, 
Mr. Tirlino' aro'ued the matter out with his 
lordship, and, being practically granted per- 
mission to ask such questions as he liked 


proceeded to inquire whether Mr. Surlees 
took Charles Lamb's good clerk as his 

" I think all C. Lamb's clerks very excel- 
lent ; I only wish we had a few like them," 
was tlie unexpected reply. Whereupon, 
said the newspaper reports, the court was 
convulsed, the fact being the laughter was 
confined entirely to the bench and the 

"Mr. Surlees' acquaintance with Elia does 
not appear to have been intimate," sug- 
gested his lordship, wiping his wise old 
eyes. Whereupon there ensued a smart 
little dialogue between the bench and the 
learned counsel concerning Lamb and 
Leadenhall Street, Talfourd and the Liner 
Temple, which might have seemed more 
agreeable to the prisoner had he been un- 
aware the discussion could not possibly in- 
fluence his fate for good or for evil, that, 
forgetting all this pleasant fooling, the judge 


would eventually sum up dead against 
Oliver Dane! 

Mr. Tirling inquired wlietlier Mr. Dane 
wrote a " fair and swift liand," whether lie 
was clean and neat in liis person, whether 
he kept his books fair and unblemished, 
whether, in the mornings, he was first 
at the desk, whether he was temperate, 
whether he avoided profane oaths and jest- 
ing, Avhether the colour of his clothes was 
generall}^ black in preference to brown, and 
brown rather than blue and green. And 
findino' Mr. Surlees unable to answer anv 
of these queries in the negative, the learned 
counsel suddenly dropped his friendly and 
conversational manner, and demanded with 
great sternness what further or higher 
qualities he could wish in a clerk. 

Driven to bay Mr. Surlees answered, 

" Honesty, for instance." 

" That won't do," retorted the learned 
counsel. " You conceived a prejudice 


against my unfortunate client long before 
any doubt concerning his lionesty crossed 
your mind. Eemember you are on your 
oath, sir. Now what was your particu- 
lar objection to Mr. Dane?" 

It was like applying the thumbscrew tor- 
ture, and Mr. Surlees stammered out that 
he thought their clerk talked too much, 
and was a fop. 

Instantly Mr. Tirling smote the witness 
hip and thigh. 

" Did Mr. Surlees know the meaning 
attached to fop ? " 

"Yes, Mr. Surlees thought he did." 

" Would he be kind enough to explain P " 

Mr. Surlees declined this challeno-e. 
" There were," he said, " words the mean- 
ing of which could not be explained by the 
help of other words." 

"There are, are there?" retorted Mr. 
TirHng; and straightway begged his lord- 
ship to take a note of this reply. 

220 S US AX Dli UMMOyj). 

Instead of doing anytliing of the sort, 
liis lordsliip said lie tliouglit the learned 
gentleman was travelling very wide of the 
subject indeed ; to which remark the 
learned gentleman replied his lordship would 
ere long, comprehend the reason for the 
course he was taking, and with all due 
submission begged to state he felt if he 
were to do justice to the prisoner — than 
whom no more cruelly maligned individual 
ever deserved the sympathy of his fellow- 
creatures — he must be allowed to continue 
the cross-examination in his own way. The 
judge gave consent by silence. The oppos- 
ing counsel looked up at the ceiling, and 
smiled as one who should say, " Let him 
have his fling. It is all of no use ; but he 
must do something for his money." The 
prisoner knew if his chances had been bad 
ten minutes previously they were worse 
now. With all the veins of his heart he 
wished he had employed no solicitor, 


secured no counsel, Lut just let things 

What was the loneliness of his prison 
cell in comparison with this idiotic splitting- 
of hairs, and attempt to make a man out 
a liar who, to the best of his knowledge 
stood there trying to tell the simple truth? 

" Now attend to me, sir, if you please ; " 
it was Mr. Tirling who spoke this sentence. 
" On your oath, do you consider Oliver 
Dane to be a person of weak understand- 
ing and much ostentation ? 0, you don't ? 
You are quite sure of that P Very well. 
Do you believe it was his ambition to 
attract attention by showy dress and pert- 
ness? Certainly not. Thank you, Mr. Sur- 
lees ; I thought we should get at some- 
thing after a time. Did he strike you as 
a gay, trifling man ? Once again, no. I 
trust these answers will be remembered. 
Was he, then, a coxcomb or a popinjay P 
Again No. Xow really this is very sin- 


gular. You described Mr. Dane as a fop 
yet when one comes to exhaust the mat- 
ter it actually seems he has not a single 
fop-like quality. Perhaps the other cause 
of dislike was founded on ecpialh^ unsub- 
stantial grounds. You say, sir, Mr. Dane 
talked too much; why, even Charles 
Lamb's model clerk was permitted the 
occasional use of his tongue. What did 
Mr. Dane say, when did he say it, and 
how ? 0, you decline to answer ! Well, 
let that pass. Now I want to know who 
called your attention to the fact that a 
cheque had been torn out of the book?" 

With this question Mr. Surlees tried in 
vain to fence ; Mr. Tirling was determined 
he would — as he unpleasantly expressed the 
matter — " have an answer out of him," and 
at length elicited that Mr. Surlees was the 
Columbus of this great discovery ; that he 
had " called his own attention " to it. 

Then, indeed, the learned counsel felt 


deliglited. In tlie playful exuberance of his 
spirits lie figuratively danced round and 
round tlie merchant, dealincr him verbal 
])lows, catching' him with a iest and liilje 
under the fifth vih ; getting him into a 
<^orner, and making him contradict him- 
self half a dozen times in as many seconds ; 
closing with him as if for a mighty tussle ; 
and then at quite an unexpected moment 
intimating in a scornful manner he had done 
with him. 

This might have been all very well had 
his ingenuity proved able to tell the jury 
how notes paid across the counter of the 
Union on one day came, on the next evening, 
to be found in Mr. Dane's possession. It 
was a circumstance wliicli of course might 
be capable of explanation ; l)ut then neither 
Mr. Dane nor Mr. Dane's counsel managed 
to do anvthino' of the sort. The notes had 
been sent to him, so said the prisoner ; the 
parcel containing them was dropped into the 


letter-box of liis lodgings, tlie only informa- 
tion which accompanied it being that they 
came " from a friend." Certainly such a 
story did not seem feasible. It was just 
■within the bounds of possibility that it might 
be true ; but then it was so much more 
probable that it might not. Incredulity was 
writ large on the faces of those twelve men 
with whom the result lay. There are things 
that cannot be got over save by faith, a 
quality for wliich the British juryman is not 
usually remarkable ; and if he had ever 
possessed it in the case of Oliver Dane, it 
may safely be said every step of the trial, 
every fact extracted in cross-examination 
and from the witnesses produced for the 
defence, must have tended to weaken the 
conviction of Oliver Dane's innocence. 

There never seemed a clearer case of 
heartless ingratitude and flagrant fraud. 

On the part of Mr. Colvend, at all events, 
there could be no suspicion of prejudice or 


dislike. Every answer he gave clearly 

proved his affection for the prisoner — his 

grief and surprise when he heard of the 

accusation against him ; yet his evidence, 

reluctantly given, could only be summed up 

as against Oliver Dane. Had the matter 

rested with him, the young man would not 

have been given into custody ; but that he 

believed in his guilt was evident. He knew 

he was going into business on his own 

account, and had offered to assist him ; 

would gladly have lent him three hundred 

pounds or more had he been aware such a 

sum was important. !N'ot a word was said 

or sentence spoken during the whole course 

of the trial which did not make the case 

blacker against the criminal. 

" He ought to have pleaded guilty," 

thought Mr. Gayre. " Chelston was quite 

right ; every fresh scrap of evidence is an 

additional nail in his coffin. Even she must 

])e convinced now;" and he looked down 
Vol. ii. 37 


at Susan, who, raising lier anxious eyes, 
wliispered, as if in answer to his unspoken 

"Eemember all this does not change my 
opinion in the least. He is innocent. I 
do not expect you to think so, but I know 

The end was nearly at hand. Sir Geoffrey 
Chelston, wlio had been intimate with all the 
Danes — Oliver included — came forward to 
state he believed Dane to be a most honour- 
able fellow, one he had never seen but once 
on any racecourse. Pressed as to whether 
the prisoner was not fond of horses, he 
answered, " Of course ; all gentlemen are ; " 
which last assertion might as well have been 
omitted, if he wished to impress the jury with 
any idea of the advantages to be derived 
from his own acquaintance. There was 
only one witness whose testimony could 
have proved useful on behalf of the prisoner ; 
but both Mr. Gavre and Oliver Dane had 


80 managed that her name was not even 
known to Mr. Tirlmg. 

" Woukln't do, yon know, Gayre," re- 
marked Sh' Geoffrey, talking the matter 
over with his brother-in-law. " Susan 
must not be mixed up publicly with that 
poor fellow's troubles. Besides, nothing can 
materially change the aspect of matters for 
him ; it is a mere question of so many 
months, more or less ; and what can a 
few months more or less signify to him? 
while it would l;)e perfect damnation — excuse 
the word — for the liirl to l)e bracketed 
with a fellow residing, even temporarily, in 
one of her Majesty's gaols." 

" And, at the most, all she could say is 

he might have had her money without ever 

asking for it," answered Mr. Gayre. " We 

must keep her out of the matter. It is a 

redeeming point in Dane that he seems 

more anxious by far about her than 




" So he ought to be. Hang the fellow ! 
what business had he to hiduce such a girl 
to engage herself to a pauper? Now the 
only amends he can make is to leave her 
free to marry somebody else." 

"She won't do that, I think," said Mr. 
Gayre, a little hypocritically. 

" Won't she ! Leave her to Time for a 
while. Old Time is the only fellow that 
thoroughly understands women. He heals 
love wounds, and turfs over graves, and 
dries up tears in a way you would scarcely 
credit. 'Pon my soul, I've known him work 
miracles, and so youTL find it with Sue ; 
only whatever you do, don't cross her 
fancies," finished the Baronet, who already 
looked on Susan as Mrs. Gayre, and the 
Lombard Street strong-room as unlocked 
for his benefit. 

It was, therefore, more with an interested 
eye to the future than from any sympathy 
with the unfortunate lovers that Sir Geoffrey 


worked, for Oliver Dane as " though he 
were ray own son." 

Nevertheless, spite of the fact that he 
was a baronet, his testimony told, in the 
minds of the jury, against Mr. Colvend's 
clerk ; and not even the circumstance, that 
in cross-examination, to the great satis- 
faction of every one, the judge included, 
he threw the learned counsel for the pro- 
secution, could make things better for a 
man accused of robbing his employers. 
Sir Geoffrey was quite sure of two things — 
one, that Oliver Dane did not bet ; another, 
that he did not habitually attend races. 

"I'd know a betting-man," declared the 
Baronet, "if he were a bishop, or came on 
the course in wig and gown. I never saw 
Dane on any race-ground but once, and 
that was at the Derby, with a lot of other 
young fellows like himself. More by token," 
he added, nodding his head, and looking 
with a malicious twinkle at the learned 


counsel, " that was the very same year you 
laid against Bluegown, and lost a pot of 
money. I never shall forget your face 
when the roar came, ' Bluegown, Blue- 
gown ! '" 

There was such a laugh over this agreeable 
reminiscence that the judge's admonitions to 
Sir Geoffrey were quite unheard ; and the 
Baronet, dismissed by his opponent, who 
desired no continuation of so unpleasant a 
tale, lounged easily out of the witness-box, 
before it dawned on anyone his lordship 
was remonstrating with him concerning tlie 
impropriety of his conduct. 

After Sir Geoffrey came Lionel Hilderton, 
vrlio was called to prove he and Oliver 
Dane had gone together into the low haunts 
of London in order to study faces and find 
models likely to prove useful in connection 
with his own work. They had found their 
way into very questionable neighbourhoods, 
and treated persons who were very like 


blackguards and tliieves ; but if they liad 
wliat then ? " Xo doubt you " — this point- 
edly, and in his most offensive manner, to 
the genial gentleman who was badgering 
him — " have, in the wa}^ of your trade, 
<^onsorted, ere now, with bad characters. 
You would be very much offended, I dare- 
-say, if anyone called you a pickpocket 
because you may have defended one." 

" Such license of language really cannot 
be permitted," observed the judge. 

" Then why," asked Lai, his dark eyes 
Hashing with anger ^ " does your lordship 
allow that person such license of language 
in addressino* me ? It is hard to oret a blow 
and not to have a chance of striking out 
in return ; " following on which remark 
there ensued a very pretty little cjuarrel 
between bench and witness. Lai defied the 
judge, and the judge threatened to commit 
him. Lai said he did not care, and that, 
on the whole, he would rather be committed ; 


and it was at length only through the 
interposition of the learned counsel engaged 
on both sides his lordship was pacified, and 
the young man induced to hold his tongue, 
and the cross-examination proceeded. 

"Were you ever engaged in a fight with 
the police ? " asked his persecutor. 

" Yes, and I'd figlit them again if they 
were insolent. What right had they to 
interfere with a man who was doing them 
no harm ? " 

" Do you not think it was wrong to go 
to such places as the police warned you 
were not fit for any decently-dressed person 
to enter ? " 

" No, not a bit more wrong than going to 
church," retorted Lai. 

" Perhaps you don't go to church, Mr, 

"Yes, I do, to study the British 

"Dear — dear — dear!" murmured Susan, 


in an agony, wringing her hands ; " what 
madness could have induced them to call 

" He has done all that lay in his power to 
conyict his friend," decided Yix. Gayre. but 
he did not utter this idea aloud. "Won't 
you come away now, Miss Drummond ? " he 
entreated, for he knew the beginning of 
the end was at hand. 

" No ; 0, no ! " she murmured. 

" I wish you would not stop, dear," said 
Miss Matthews. 

"I must stay to hear — the worst," Susan 
almost whispered. 

Still the dreary proceedings dragged their 
slow length along ; but at last came the 
judge's summing-up. It was dead against 
the prisoner, who stood listening, with 
crossed arms and an unmoyed front, to the 
words of wisdom and re])robation which 
flowed in smooth passionless accents from 
the bench. The question of the prisoner's 


guilt or innocence, was left, of course, to 
the jury ; but the jury were told how to 
decide. The crime of which the 3^oung 
man l)efore them was accused struck at 
the foundations of society. It was for the 
jury to disembarrass their minds of the 
extraneous matters which had been obtruded 
on their notice, and deliver a verdict on 
the merits of the case. His lordship felt lie 
need not remind the gentlemen of the jury 
that the fact of the prisoner being well born, 
well educated, well connected, could not 
palliate his sin, if tlie}^ l)elieved he had first 
stolen a cheque, then forged his employers' 
signature, and subsequently appropriated the 
proceeds. It was for the jury to say whether 
they considered this serious charge proved. 

Apparently, the jury had arrived at their 
decision before they even left the box ; for 
the}^ were not ten minutes absent before 
they trooped back again solemnly. They 
had arrived at a verdict. 


"How say yoii, ^uentlemen ? " 

And then Susan Drummond, though she 
knew what was comino", hekl her breath. 

" Guilty ! " 

It seemed as if a thousand voices took 
up the word, and shouted it in lier ears. 
For a moment she feh like one drowning ; 
the waters had indeed covered her souL 

" Let me take you out," said Mr. Gayre, 
touching her arm ; hut slie seemed not to 
hear him. Every sense was concentrated 
on the judge, who, in measured accents, 
proceeded to say lie would not add to tlie 
distress the prisoner must feel at the position 
to which a long course of folly and ex- 
trava<>'ance had brous"ht him. When he 
looked back over his wasted life — a life 
which he could so easily have made honour- 
able and prosperous — it might well seem 
as if in the loss of the esteem of all honest 
men, in the wreck and ruin of his own 
career, in the reproaches of his own con- 


science, were the elements of a sufficient and 
terrible punishment ; but the crime of which 
a jury of his own countrymen had found 
him guilty, was one so dangerous to the 
community, so necessary to check in a vast 
city — the capital of the greatest mercantile 
nation in the world, or that the world 
had ever known — his lordship felt it 
necessary to pass the severe sentence of 
seven years' penal servitude. 

" My God ! " exclaimed the prisoner, like 
one stunned ; and at that moment Susan 
would have risen, but that Mr. Gay re 
prevented her from doing so. 

" Don't make a scene," he entreated, 
" don't ; " while from the dock came a cry 
of " / am innocent ! " ere the warders hurried 
the living man into the seven years' grave 
that yawned before him. 



"^^EYEN years, by Jove!" said Sir 
P^P Geoffrey, pacing the length and 
breadth of Mr. Gaj^e's dining-room, his head 
sunk on his breast, his hands clasped behind 
his back. " Seven years ! Good God Al- 
mighty ! " and the Baronet, in a vague sort 
of way, fell to considering what he, Geoffrey 
Chelston, could have made of seven long 
years spent in penal servitude, had the 
Gayres dealt with him " according to law." 
" Seven years without drink or dice or 
pretty barmaids — without flats or cheats, or 
horses or racecourses — with no society save 
the dumb company of those who had been 
' found out ' — with the shape of his head and 


ears too painfully defined — clad in a suit 
for which no tailor could ever dun him — 
forced to go to bed with that silly creature 
the lamb, and compelled to rise with that 
greater nuisance and greater fool still the 
lark — obliized to ^o to church, and knuckle 
down to the chaplain, and eat, begad, any 
beastly stuff a rascally Eadical Government 
elected to thrust down the throat of gentle- 
men in trouble — a damned lot ! " 

Thus the tenth Baronet, who had put his 
name and ancestry and title and money out 
to such extraordinary interest, stung into 
mental activity by the fact of so severe a 
sentence being passed upon a man who had 
not shaved the wind one whit closer than 
himself, regarded the " miglit have been '' 
of his own case, while ostensibly considering 
the sore plight of that " unlucky devil," 
Oliver Dane. 

" It all comes of keeping a fellow too 
tio'ht," went on the Baronet, talking to Mr. 


Gavre as tliougli the banker were an ntter 
tyro in the ways of this wicked but pleasant 
old world. " A man must have his fling 
sometime, and if he hasn't it early he'll take 
it late. Ton my soul, I'm as sorry for Dane 
as if he were my own brother ! It's a deuced 
liard case. I am sure I said all I could for 
him. Had he been my father I couldn't have 
sworn harder, and yet I feel as though I 
were in some sort to blame — as if I might 
have said more, you know. I declare, Gayre, 
to my dying day I shall never forget his cry, 
' I am innocent ! ' " 

" But he was not innocent," objected ]\Ii\ 

" I am not so sure of that : standing 
almost in the presence of his Maker, as one 
may say ; for seven years' penal servitude in 
this world appears to me far more like 
eternity, and a very bad eternity, than walk- 
ing over the border 'into a land the parsons 
seem to think will be made pleasant for most 


of US who are not liardened and desperate 
ruffians — a well-connected and respectable 
young fellow like Dane — Heavens ! I remem- 
ber him quite a little lad running about in 
knickerbockers — would be scarcely likely to 
tell a lie." 

" No one could have felt more sure of his 
guilt than ^^ourself," said the banker, angrily ; 
*'what is the use of talking in this strain 
now ? " 

"None — not a bit; and that's just what 
makes me take the whole thing so much to 
heart. Innocent or guilty, such a sentence 
is enough to make a man, if he had not the 
ver}^ strongest faith — which, thank God! I 
have — turn atheist. Seven years cut clean 
out of a fellow's life ! Better have hung him 
at once. Could that old fool of a judge 
understand what seven years of penal servi- 
tude means to a gentleman well born, well 
bred, well connected ? I feel as if I'd like 
to go and assault somebody — I might get the 


case ventilated then. And then there's 
poor dear Susan breaking her soft tender 
heart ; and, as I told her this morning, I 
am only able to stand like a brute and 
do nothing ; and then what d'ye think she 

" Thanked you for your sympathy, I have 
no doubt." 

"She never said a word. She just came 
up to me, and put her arms round my neck 
and kissed me, and laid her pretty head on 
my shoulder and cried like a child. I'm a 
rough and tumble sort of chap, and nobody 
ever suggested there was any gammon or 
sentiment about Geoffrey Chelston ; but, 
upon my soul, Gayre," — and the unsenti- 
mental Baronet, instead of finishing his 
sentence, fetched a deep breath — " A woman 
like Susan Drummond can make what she 
will of a man," he went on, "hand in 
hand with her, a fellow need never wish to 
wander out of that path to heaven which 

Vol. ii. 38 


we are told is so confoundedly narrow and 

" I never heard the path was straight," 
remarked Mr. Gayre, " though I fancy many 
jiersons find it so." 

"Hang it all, 3^ou need not take me up 
so short ! Besides, I gave the spirit of the 
text, and surely that's enough. And as for 
Susan, narrow or straight, or both, she'd lead 
the worst sinner that ever lived to the happy 
land school-children sing about. Faith, it 
was ver}^ pretty to hear them at Chelston, 
Gayre ; poor Margaret used — " 

" Miss Drummond does not seem to have 
been able to lead her particular sinner to a 
very happy land, in this world, at all events," 
said Mr. Gayre, ruthlessly cutting across his 
brother-in-law's pastoral reminiscences. 

" Now don't be ironical," entreated Sir 

" Ironical ! Good gracious ! " 

" Well, ironical, or sarcastic, or what you 


choose, you were sneering at Dane, you 
know you were, and it's not kind to sneer 
at a fellow who has got into hot water and 
been badly scalded." 

" I don't know what you mean," returned 
^Ir. Gay re. " I suppose we have all a right 
to express an opinion, and when a man 
•embezzles and forges — " 

" Well, you need not be hard on him ; 
and you are much harder than 1 like to see — 
you are, Gayre, upon my conscience." 

"And upon my conscience," retorted the 
banker, " I utterly fail to understand the 
drift of all your profound remarks. It is 
impossible in the face of the evidence you 
heard yesterday for you, or any man, to 
believe Dane innocent, and being guilty he 
•deserves punishment. Seven years is a heavy 
sentence, no doubt, but employers must be 
protected. Supposing jou left your purse on 
that table, and a housemaid stole it, would 
you give her a sovereign and entreat her to 


remain in your service ? You know you 
would not ; you would send for the nearest 
policeman and give lier in cliarge — " 

"I'd do nothing of the sort," interrupted 
the Baronet. "She should never have a 
chance of robbing me again, but — " 

"You would give her a chance to rob 
somebody else," suggested Mr. Gayre. 

"I'd rather do that than lock her up," 
said Sir Geoffrey, standing to his guns. " I 
do not believe in all this law and lawyer 
business, and punishing and deterring and 
the rest of it. If a fellow goes wrong, give 
him a chance of doing right. How can 
any one get right working like a navvy at 
Portland? Supposing those two City Solons 
had left Dane free, and let him repay their 
money, it would have been better for every- 
body, themselves included." 

" In that case, he might have married 
Miss Drummond, and lived happily ever 
after," sneered Mr. GajTC. 


" I shouldn't have gone so far as that," 
answered the Baronet. " And, indeed, I 
doubt if Susan would have wished to marry 
him ; now she does ; that's the first effect 
of his lordship's sentence. The girl con- 
siders her lover a martvr, which brincfs me 
to what 1 particularly wanted to say. For 
Heaven's sake, Gayre, don't hurt her feel- 
ings by speaking as if you thought him 
guilty ! If you do, she'll hate you for ever. 
There is no manner of use in reasoning 
with a woman — women can't reason any 
more than they can grill a steak. Let 
Susan have her way. If she likes to believe 
Dane innocent, it won't do you or me any 
harm. Soothing is the way to treat such 
a wound. If any likely young feUow were 
about, now would be his chance ; no time 
for winning a girl's heart so good as wlien 
it has just been broken, and while her eyes 
are still wet with crying ! Gad ! I mayn't 
know much about the business world and 


money and so forth, but I do understand 
women ! Tliougli I am not as young as I 
used to be, if I were sinoie I'd engage to 
liave Susan Drummond for wife in three 

" Upon the whole it is fortunate for her 
that you are not single," remarked Mr. 
Gay re. 

"0, I don't mean to say that I should 
wish to marry Susan," returned Sir Geoffrey: 
" only that I know I could. We should 
not suit each other in the least. I'd drive 
her mad ; and she — well, fact is, Susan 
would be a bit too good for me. She 
ought to run in harness with some steady 
fellow, who does not drink or gamble, who 
has not been driven half mad with trouble, 
and compehed to pick up a wretched living 
as I am. I'd like to see her married to 
some excellent man she could be proud of 
— rich, respectable, that sort of thing ; what 
I never can be now, Gavre. It would be 


an awful business if slie made a mistake 
a second time, Just fancy lier tied for 
life to a sulky beggar like Lai Hilderton, 
or to such an infernal cad as your friend 
Sudlow ! " Having planted which sting in 
his brother-in-law's soul, Sir Geoffrey walked 
to the side-board, and refreshed himself 
with about half a tumbler of Chartreuse 
that had been produced for his especial 
benefit, as he said he felt deucedly queer, 
and could think of nothing so likely to 
pull him together a bit. 

" I don't know what I am to do with 
Sudlow," he began, after partaking of this 
moderate draught. " He's as shy of those 
settlements as if they were a ten- foot wall. 
I bring him up to them again and again, 
but he always refuses the leap. Xovr it's 
this, now it's the other ; something has 
l)een left out, or something has been put 
in. He goes to my lawyers : for I can't 
have him bothering- me, and he won't, he 


declares, incur the expense of letting his 
own solicitor arrange the matter — 1 am 
sure he is afraid the attorney would sell 
him — goes to my lawyers, and argues each 
point with them. Heaven only knows who 
is to pay the piper. I know I sha'n't 
be able." 

"And I really don't think Sudlow will," 
said Mr. Ga}Te. 

" Things are getting deucedly awkward. I 
must give up Moreby's crib ere long. His 
mother's legal adviser says I may rent the 
place on, if I choose to pay in advance, 
but that he cannot advise his client to per- 
mit the present unsatisfactory arrangements 
to continue, and be blanked to him. Then 
I am all at sea as to what I am to do 
about Maggie. Clearly Sudlow mustn't be 
hanging round the house while the girl is 
alone in it ; and I can't be mewed up in 
North Bank for ever. If I am to stop at 
home all day, the pot would soon cease 


boiling. You must see yourself it is of no 
earthly use trying to get ' companions ; ' they 
won't stop ; money won't make them — love 
might. I believe old mother Morris expected 
I would propose for her. It's deucedly awk- 
ward, confoundedly awkward. I've looked 
at the position from, I think, every possible 
and impossible point of view, and the more 
I think the more satisfied I feel there is 
but one course open, and that is making 
things up with Margaret." 

" Well, of course, you know your own 
business best," said Mr. Gayre, who under- 
stood whither all this was tending. 

" There are few men who would propose 
such a plan," said Sir Geoffrey, helping him- 
self to a little more Chartreuse ; " but I 
do not profess to be led by popular opinion. 
My notions are not worldly, but I liope 
they are Christian. Dear, dear, when I look 
back to the old times, and think of Mar- 
(jaret and the Pleasaunce ! Ah ! she was a 

2 50 .S' USA X iJli UMMOyD. 

lovely young creature, Gayre, and nobody 
can deny the Pleasaunce was as sweet a 
spot as ever a set of rascally Jews got hold 
of ! Lord ! when I shut my eyes I can see 
lier standing beside one of the windows in 
the great drawing-room at Chelston, framed 
in a tracery of leaves and roses, the red 
in her cheeks pink as the roses, and her 
forehead white as her dress. The fairest 
picture: the quaint old furniture and the 
sweet young bride. Ah, the house is dis- 
mantled, and Margaret gone ! Man}' a man 
has hun£>' himself for less, Gavre." 

" It is not a particularly agreeable theme 
for Margaret's brother," observed the banker. 

"Eough on you," agreed Sir Geoffrey, 
" deucedly rougli. Hard for me — harder for 
you. Impossible to wash such a stain 
clean out of any fiimily ; and to think that 
the cowardly fellow escaped without having 
to pay even a farthing damages ! " 

" It would not have benefited Mar^'aret 


mncli if lie had," said Mr. Gayre, wlio 
knew into wliose pocket the damages wonki 
have found their way. 

" The more 1 think over the matter, the 
more satisfied I feel Peggy and her mother 
ought to be together," declared Sir Geoffrey, 
ignoring his brother-in-law's remark. 

Mr. Gayre also was aware when it was 
prudent to maintain silence, and discreetly 
held his peace. 

" Have you thouo-ht over what I said 
to you a little while since P " asked the 
Baronet, finding this astute fish declined 
to " rise." 

" What did you say ? Put your idea into 
plain words." 

" You might help a man a little, more 
especialh^ when he is making such an offer as 
I am making now. Hang it ! if Margaret 
were my sister, and you, her wronged 
husband, were proposing to let bygones be 
bygones, and have her back, you r-ould not 


take things more coolly than you are 

" I do not feel elated, if that is what you 
mean," said Mr. Gayre. 

" Well, of all the cold, bloodless fellows I 
ever met," Sir Geoffrey was beginning, when 
a look, in the banker's face warned him to 
desist. " We can't be all alike, however," he 
added in a tone of bland apology for the 


"We can't all be Geoffrey Chelstons if 
that is what you mean," agreed the banker. 

" We can't be all Gayres either. Gad, in 
many ways I wish we could. But now to 
revert to Mars^aret. You would like the 
past to be forgotten, eh ? " 

"It cannot be undone." 

" That's true ; but where's the use of 
harping upon that? It would gratify you 
to know your sister had resumed her old 
position and rank, and so forth, eh ? " 

" I don't know that it would. There is an 


old proverb about letting sleeping dogs lie. 
Were Margaret to return to England, many- 
sleeping dogs in tlie country would wake up 
and begin snarling at her." 

" no, they wouldn't. Scarce a soul ever 
knew the rights of that affair. I am sure, 
Gayre, even you must say no man could have 
kept stricter silence than I." 

" Whatever your reason may have been for 
holding your tongue, I never found fault with 
you for doing so," returned Mr. Gayre, 

"That's City all over. I wonder if you 
would have made such a speech while you 
were in the thick of the dashing fellows who 
saved India for us ? But never mind, I know 
you better than you know yourself, and feel 
quite sure business has not really spoiled one 
1 can remember as generous and trustful and 
enthusiastic a young man as ever wore her 
Majesty's uniform." 

Mr. Gayre did not answer this bitter-sweet 


encomium. Once again Sir Geoffrey liad 
touched the raw, as that worthy understood. 
'' Well, well," he said, '• we can't be hard- 
hearted men of the world, and keep the soft 
tender hearts of boyhood in our breasts, too. 
Still, thank Heaven, all I have gone through 
has not made me cast iron. I can't forget, 
though you do. I wish we could have been 
more like brothers, Gayre. I'm an unfor- 
tunate devil, I know ; but I always was fond 
of you, and misfortune is not crime. I did 
think you would be pleased at my notion 
about Margaret — poor misguided soul ! How- 
ever, of course, I can't expect you to see with 
my eyes ; so Peggy and I must do the best 
we can for ourselves, and that best will be 
bad enough. Good-bye. Heaven only knows 
wdien I shall see you again. I hope you may 
always be prosperous, and never know what 
it is to hunger for a kind word or look, and 
get neither ; " with which Christian aspiration, 
that sounded uncommonly like a curse, Sir 


Geoffrey was turning towards tlie door, wlien 
Mr. Gap-e stopped him, 

"Wait a moment, Clielston," he said. 
"Don't go yet.' 

The banker was standing before the fire, 
looking into its glowing depths, and did not 
see the smile which overspread Sir Geoffrey's 
face as he paused to ask, 

•• Web, what is it now ? " 

•■ That is what I wish to know," answered 
Mr. Gayre. "Wliy can't you tell me in so 
many plain words exactly what you want ? 
If you know anything about me, you ought 
to understand the sort of talk in which you 
liave been indulging is completely wasted. 
I despise flattery as much as I distrust 
sentimentality. You never liked one of us ; 
YOU thouG^ht we niiiiht serve your turn. As 
for Margaret, a pert serving-wench would 
have found more favour in your eyes than 
my sister. I declare," added the banker, in 
a burst of furr, " when I think of all Margaret 


suffered at your hands, I hate myself for ever 
having crossed your threshold again, or eaten 
your bread, or let my hand touch yours in 

" You know I can't hit back, Gayre ; and 
it really was deucedly good of you to forget 
old grievances — utterly imaginery, upon my 
soul — for the sake of Peggy." 

A dull red line, like a band, came slowly 
across Mr. Gayre's forehead. Perhaps he 
was conscious of that tell-tale mark, for lie 
never turned towards Sir Geoffrey as he 

" I would have done a good deal for my 
sister's daus^hter, but I find that daughter 
almost as impracticable and selfish as yourself. 
I don't know what can be done for her." 

" Don't you ? If you chose to give Peggy 
a fortune, no man would find her waste it in 
making presents, for example." 

" But I don't choose to give her a fortune." 

" I know you don't ; you are far too like 


her to do anything of the sort. I was only 
remarking, if you tried the experiment of 
giving Pegg}' any of this world's goods, you'd 
find she'd take deucedly good care of number 
one. She can make a pound go further than 
I could five. Faith ! spite of her beauty and 
the long line of ancestry she is able to claim 
on my side, I often think it would be a pity 
to spoil two houses with her and Sudlow. 
There is a regular trade smack about the girl 
at times which positively amazes me. It just 
shows that what's bred in the bone, you 
know — " 

" Where is all this tending ? " interrupted 
Mr. Gayre. 

" I don't know that it is tending anywhere 
except to lodgings at fifteen shiUings a week 
and good-bye to Sudlow," answered Sir 
Geoffrey. " I had better be going, Gayre. I 
am confoundedly sorry I came." 

"What is the amount of annual income 
over and above the sum I allow my sister 

Vol. ii. 39 

258 .S- rSAX BE UMMOXD. 

YOU require to set up house with Lady 
Chelstou at the head of affairs ? Eemember, 
I promise nothing. I do not even know tliat 
Margaret would return to you ; if she did, I 
fail to understand what is to be said to her 
dausfhter concernino- a mother she believes 
died lono- and lono' ago. Still, I should like 
to know your price ; you came to tell me that 
price ; out with it, man.'" 

" Well, as you force me to say, I think ten 
thousand pounds down, and five hundi'ed a 
year for Margaret's and my life, at our death 
to go then to Peggy, would be just to me and 
not unfair to you." 

" Just to you ! " repeated Mr. Gayre. 

'- 1 don't expect you to think much about 
the justice to me," replied Sir Geoffrey 
equably. " Why should you ? Why should 
a rich man consider a poor one ? Why 
should you, who have always been first 
favourite with Fortune, think for a moment 
about an out-at-elbows fellow like mvself. 


The ball is at your foot, not at mine ; play it, 
knock me over I Only deal kiiidly ^vitli 
Marsfaret and tlie Girl, and I am content to 
lianof on to life bv my evelids as I am doina' 
now, till a pauper's grave receives all that is 
mortal of the tenth Baronet of Chelston." 

'' As for ten thousand pounds down, I 
won't i^ive you a thousand pence." 

" Then I needn't detain you longer. I 

am sorry I mentioned the matter at all, 

onh' I thought and still think Margaret is 

the proper person to take charge of her 

child. Xo one but a mother can see to a 

girl, and I'd have made things as pleasant 

as possible. I'd have stopped out of her 

way except when it was necessary for me 

to enter an appearance. I'd have left 

Maroaret and Peggv to manage matters 

just as they liked, and only put in a word 

if asked to do so. You and your sister 

could have selected a residence to suit 

her ; bless you ! though I make no fuss 



or pretence, I'm full of consideration. I'd 
have left her as free as air. If she ever 
wanted to ask a few friends, she could 
have sent out the invitations as if from 
Sir Geoffrey and Lady Chelston ; and I'd 
have come up to time. Of course I 
understood, after the way she had treated 
me, she might feel more comfortable if I 
were not constantly at hand to remind 
her of the past. Poor dear soul ! She 
couldn't help being a simpleton, I daresay, 
but still—" 

" Sir Geoffrey, will you have the kindness 
to leave my house ? " 

Mr. Gayre was almost beside himself 
with rage. 

" Certainly, certainly," answered Sir 
Geoffrey, with the greatest equanimity. 
"If you don't mind, I'll just have another 
sip of that Chartreuse, and then I'll be 

"Finish the bottle if you like," said Mr. 


Gayre, who knew the Baronet was certam 
to do so without his permission. 

"Thankee, I will; there's not much 
left ; " and Sir Geoffrey, having exactly 
filled his tumbler with the precious liquor, 
and, in an easy affable way, drained its 
contents to the last drop, nodded to Mr. 
Gayre and walked out of the room. Xext 
moment, however, he reappeared. 

"I say, Gayre," he began, putting his 
remarkable head inside the door, "you've 
treated me deucedly badly to-day, I con- 
sider ; but still, hang it, if blood is thicker 
than water, a brother-in-law is a brother- 
in-law; so I thought I'd just come back 
and give you a bit of a hint. It's not 
very likely you'll ever see Peggy again — 
for I'm sure your friend the cad, upon 
whom we've wasted such a lot of valuable 
time, will never be got over that rasping 
settlement fence, and I'll have to start 
the girl out as nursery governess or lady- 

262 srsAX nnrMMoyn. 

lielp, or sometliing of that sort — -still if 
you ever should, don't tell her that you 
think Dane guilt}\ Though she is my 
daughter, she's as nasty and venomous a 
little toad as ever held the making of a 
truly respectable and conventional woman. 
She'd tell Susan instantly. Poor Susan! 
Now, there is breed. The Drummonds 
never married beneath them — never." 

" Xot even into the Mrs. Arbery clique," 
suo"orested Mr. Gavre. 

Sir Geoffrey Avas out on the doorstep 
ere the ])anker had got half through this 
sentence, and before it ended had crossed 
the street and was sauntering along the 
kerb, shaking his head with repressed delight, 
and smilino' to such an extent, the few 
persons he met turned to look back after 
his retreating figttre. 

"That sprat vrill catch that herring," 
he decided. "I'll screw fifteen hundred 
perhaps out of him, and he'll make Mar- 


ci'aret's allowance a thou. sand a year. It 
will be a wonderful relief to me. I shan't 
then care a snap of my fingers wdiether 
Sudlow marries Peggy or not ; I should 
never be a penny the better if she did." 

Sir Geoffrey's spirit of prophecy proved 
in many respects correct. Mr. GajTe's first 
determination was, indeed, to sever the 
whole connection ; but eventually calmer 
thought prevailed. He ('ould not blind 
himself to the truth that it would be mak- 
ing the best of a bad business to adopt 
his brother-in-law's suggestion, and place 
"Peg" under her mother's care. He had 
no intention of paying a large sum in 
order to effect the needful reconciliation, 
but lie would be willing to pay something. 
It was easy enough to resume outwardly 
friendly relations with Sir Geoffrey, ^vho 
never took offence unless he meant to make 
a profit by doing so. A hint was given 
to Lady Chelston of the happiness which 


might be in store; and had her husband 
been the best man living, she could scarcely 
have expressed greater thankfulness for liis 
generosity or more fervent hope that nothing 
might occur to prevent the proposed 
arrangement being carried out. Sir Geof- 
frey walked jauntily about London with 
so jubilant a manner people imagined he 
must have had a fortune left to him. Even 
Mr. Sudlow began to feel satisfied some 
extraordinary piece of luck had fallen in 
the Baronet's way, and yielded a point in 
the settlements, over which there liad been 
ceaseless wrangling. Mrs. Moreby's lawyer 
and several rather pressing creditors were 
quieted and satisfied without that awkward 
business the exchange of money, and things 
seemed to be going almost — to quote Sir 
Geofii'ey's own words — " too smooth,'' when 
one evening while he was sitting over liis 
wine with a few choice spirits he had 
invited to a " quiet dinner and rubber to 


follow," Lavender appeared, carrying a tele- 
gram on one of Mr. Moreby's salvers. 

Unwitting of evil, the Baronet cut open 
the envelope, and with a bland " Excuse 
me," read: 

" Margaret died this afternoon, very sud- 
denly. I start for France by night mail'' 

"Talk about Job!" thought Sir Geoffrey; 
but, with suppressed and creditable emotion, 
he said aloud, "This," and he touched the 
telegram, " announces the death of one very 
near and dear to me. Gentlemen, will you 
excuse me, and make yourselves at home? 
I shall just have time to catch the express 
to Dover. Lavender, a hansom, quick, with 
a horse that can go. 0, I have no gold! 
Can anybody lend me five pounds? Thank 
you, very much." 

And the Baronet was gone to bid good- 
bye to Peggy. 



^^^T liis wife's funeral Sir Geoffrey 

developed (|uite a new accomplisli- 
ment. He wept! Circumstances liad kept 
liim compnlsorily sober ; and sobriety did 
what brandy never could have done — made 
him maudlin. Mr. Gayre did not l)elieve 
in his l)rother-in-law's tears, yet he felt 
touched by them. They fell like rain ; they 
were to be seen of all men. The under- 
taker, wdio knew his money to be safe, was 
quite affected, and afterwards spoke of Sir 
Geoffre3^'s emotion as " most creditable to 
all parties." In gloomy silence the Baronet 
thinking of what might have been and of 
what indeed was so near being, stood and 


looked at tlie clianged calm face of his once 
beautiful wife. He could not have shed a 
tear then — he explained that he felt turned 
into stone — had the whole of the money in 
Gayres' bank been olTered to him as the 
price of that precious crystal ; l3at in the 
watches of the night, Wiiicli, contrary to 
custom, he was forced to spend in ])ed, 
"tossing and turning and burnt up witli a 
consumuiu' thirst, ]3e<>'ad ! " he evolved a 
brilliant idea, wliicli he confided to his 
brother-in-law n.ext morning. 

"Look here, Gayre," he began. "I 
wonder why we can't have sensible ])reak- 
fasts like this in England, instead of that 
eternal tea or coffee which plays the very 
deuce with a man's nerves and digestion. 
That is not what I was going to say to 
you, though. I didn't get a wink of sleep 
last night — couldn't sleep, }'ou know. All 
the past rushed back upon me like a wave 
— well, well, it's no use talking about last 


year's snow — and it came into my head 
that you'd like to have Margaret laid at 
Chelston. Of course everything is gone ; 
but I fancy I could manage that matter. 
As for me, one place vrill be as good as 
another — where the tree falls, you know (a 
most inapt simile, because as a rule the 
tree is never allowed to lie long anywhere). 
But I do think if the poor girl could 
speak, she would say, 'Lay me at Chel- 
ston ! ' Lord, when I think of her trotting 
about at Christmastide, with a present for 
this one and something for the other, I feel 
as if my heart would break ; I do, upon 
my soul, Gayre ! " And the Baronet 
walked out of the room, ostensibly to hide 
his emotion, but really to consider at 
leisure the extent to which Mr. Gayre 
would " fork out " for the glory and 
privilege of having his sister buried 
among " decent people." 

There is an intuition, which seems to 


be the exclusive birthright of dogs, chil- 
dren, women, fools, and scoundrels, that 
serves its purpose better than any exhaus- 
tive line of argument. This intuition Sir 
Geoffrey possessed to its fullest extent, and 
through it he understood his brother-in- 
law would at length rise to the bait 
offered. In good earnest Sir Geoffrey 
could have made no proposition more 
grateful to the banker's feelings. If Lady 
Chelston were once laid to rest amongst 
her husband's kindred, the world might 
say its worst, and still be checkmated. If 
Sir iGeoffrev made the arrancfements for 
her funeral ; if his friends attended it ; 
if he, for once, donning a black hat in- 
stead of a white one, appeared as chief 
mourner, Mr. Gayre felt he could for ever 
after snap his fingers in the face of Mrs. 
Grundy. The best he had ever hoped was 
to lay his poor erring and doubly-sinned- 
against sister in some quiet grave in a 

2 70 S rSAX I)li VMM 0X1). 

strange country and amongst a strange 
people ; but now the prospect opened 
fairly amazed him. Of course he knew he 
would have to pay in meal or in malt for 
that niche in the Chelston vault ; but he 
was willing to pay for it. Sir Geoffrey 
had touched everything that was weakest 
and most vulnerable in his nature. 

"Poor Margaret! — poor dear child! If 
she could knoAv, she would like it," he 
thouo-ht : and the lono; vears of trial and 
shame and sorrow and seclusion foded 
away from memory, and in fancy he once 
again saw his little sister running races 
with him up and down the stairs, and 
along the halls and passages of his father's 
house and the house occupied by Mr. 
Hisfo's. He could hear the swish of the 
stiffly-starched white dress, and the pitter- 
patter of the tinv feet ; behold once again 
the flutter of a light-blue sash, and feel the 
lono' curls toucli his cheek, as, with a 


laugli and a bound, she rushed out upon 
him from some unsuspected ambuscade. 

And there, still and cold, in an upper 
chamber, lay all that remained of the 
little sister grown to womanhood, who 
had made what they all once thought so 
great a match ; who had suffered horribly 
and sinned grievously, and repented in the 
sackcloth of loneliness and the ashes of 
isolation, and to whom he had not perhaps 
been so kind as he might, and visited 
less frequently than he cared to remember. 
And life was over for her ; and he could 
have made it happier. And yes, certainly, 
if it were possible to bring her to Chels- 
ton, she should lie there, though all the 
statel}^ matrons and discreet widows and 
tendei- virgins mouldering to dust turned 
in their coffins with righteous indignation 
when this poor frail sinner was carried 
into the last earthly home the portals of 
which might ever open for her. 

272 S US AX DB UMMOyi). 

"You will want money," said Mr. Gayre 
to the Baronet, whose chronic state it was 
to stand in need of that necessary article. 

But Sir Geoffrey knew when to hold his 
hand as truly as he knew when to reap,, 
and at first refused to take the cheque Mr. 
Gayre had already drawn. 

" Leave it, leave it, my boy," he said, 
with a sj^asm intended to act the manly 
part of indicating the emotion he was 
strong enough to repress ; " time enough 
to spare for all that when we know for 
certain if our darling can rest where I 
want to lay her. If I am able to do that 
for her, I shan't feel so utterly miserable. 
It's aU I can try to do, Gayre. And now 
I ought to be off at once. By the way, 
d'ye happen to have any loose gold about 
you? Lord, how money does sift away at 
a time like this ! No, no, no ; I don't 
want a twenty-pound note. Can't you give 
me anything less ? " 


If Mr. Gayre could, he would not. 

" Keep it," he said ; " you don't know 
what you may need." 

" Faith, no ! " exclaimed Sir Geoffrey, 
struck by a sudden thought. "I had to 
borrow a fiver last night, or I couldn't 
have come. Well, good-bye, Gayre ; and 
I'll wire you directly I have seen Wookes 
— that's the name of the fellow who has 
Chelston now." 

" One moment. Don't you think — 
shouldn't you like — " suggested the dead 
woman's brother almost timidly. 

" My dear fellow, a thousand thanks ! 
I had forgotten — I had upon my soul — 
what might — what, indeed, must — happen 
before it would be possible for me to re- 
turn. Poor, poor Margaret ! poor sweet 
dear ! " And the Baronet, who had ear- 
nestly hoped he might be spared another 
look at that face he never saw in life cold 
and statuesque, took off his hat, and laying 

Vol. ii. 40 

274 S USAX Dli UMMOyD. 

it on tlie table, lest lie miglit, from sheer 
force of habit, cover his head again even 
in the death chamber (" which wonld play 
the very devil." he considered), ran his 
fingers through his hair, put on the most 
solemn expression at his command — and 
the Baronet's expression could not, as a 
rule, be described as jocund — and inti- 
mated to Mr. Gayre he was ready. 

" Perhaps," said the banker, " you would 
prefer to go upstairs alone." 

" Xo, no, not at all. Wli}^ should not 
we — the only two who seem to have cared 
for her — stand beside her together ? And 
you know, Gayre, I must leave her to 
your care." 

As if, under any possible combination of 
circumstances. Sir Geoffrey would have been 
induced to remain sole, or indeed any, 
guardian at all of the " poor pale " thing 
laid lielpless on its last bed upstairs ! 

In that sacred chamber the Baronet did 


all, and indeed more than all, man 
could expect from man. He kissed the 
mask of life there stretched so stiff and 
stark ; he touched the clay-cold hands ; 
he severed, with the aid of a convenient 
pair of scissors — which, indeed, suggested 
the idea to him — a lock of hair once 
o'olden, but now plentifully sprinkled with 

" Lord, Lord ! '*' said Sir Geoffrey, in 
severe expostulation with the Deity, " that 
we should come to this ! On such an 
occasion what can any trumpery laches 
on the part of a man or woman mattei' ? " 
After which magnanimous quer}^ the widower 
left the room, made his way downstairs, 
secured his hat, and, grasping Mr. Gayre 
by the hand, departed in the most cheerful 
spirits, producing a great effect on all the 
persons he met by his lugubrious counte- 
nance and the persistent manner in which 
he shook his head, as though he had tried 



a wrestle with grief and been sorely 
worsted in the struggle. 

No man was perhaps ever more as- 
tonished than Mr. Sudlow when he read in 
the Times the death of " Margaret, wife of 
Sir Geoffrey Chelston, Bart., deeply lamented 
by her sorrowing and affectionate husband." 
He was so much astounded, indeed, that 
he found it necessary to call at North 
Bank where there was no one to receive 
him except Lavender, from whom he failed, 
to extract any save the most ordinary 

" He had known Lady Chelston — yes, 
well ; he remembered her home-coming and 
the great doings at the Pleasaunce. She 
was a beautiful lady — more beautiful, ac- 
cording to Mr. Lavender's ideas, if he 
might say so without offence, even than 
Miss Chelston. Her married life, he thought 
he might go so far as to confess, could not 
have been a happy one. You know Sir 


Geoffrey, sir," Lavender proceeded to remark, 
" and it is not all ladies who could make 
allowance for liis ways." Anyhow, they 
didn't agree, and they lived apart. It 
was better for married folk to live apart 
if they didn't live happily together. The 
Baronet was gone down to Chelston to 
arrange about the funeral. None but 
intimate friends were to be present (and 
something in the man's manner informed 
Mr. Sudlow he was not going to be asked, 
and that Lavender knew it). Miss Chelston 
(who at that moment of speaking happened 
to be upstairs closeted with her dress- 
maker), was out of town. Her grief was 
terrible ; though she had not seen her 
ladyship for years, still, in Lavender's 
opinion, a mother was a mother, and, as 
Mr. Sudlow put the question so straight, 
he did not think Sir Geoffrey ought to 
have kept his daughter all to himself as 
he had done. Latterly there had been a 

278 SUSAX DnuMMoyu. 

talk of Miss Clielston living for part of 
tlie year with her mamma. Lavender had 
always heard Lady Clielston was a great 
heiress ; most likely her fortune would 
come to her daughter, but even Lavender's 
wisdom could not tell exactly how that 
might be ; " and then Mr. Lavender, with 
a grave face and sad subdued manner, 
shut the gate after Mr. Sudlow, and went 
back into the house, and had a laugh 
with his wife over the suitor's discom- 

" I can't abear him," said Mrs. Lavender. 

" Nor me," agreed Lavender ; " but he's 
better than nobody, I suppose, and I do 
hear he's rollino' in riches." 

Meantime Mr. Gayre had returned to 
England, and in the large dining-room of 
his house in Wimpole Street his sister's 
body lay ready for burial. For several 
reasons Mr. Moreby's villa seemed inehgible 
for so rare a purpose, and it scarcely 


needed • Sir Geoffrey's liint tliat any day 
tlie bailiffs miglit enter into possession, 
whicli "would be confoundedly awkward, 
you know," to decide tlie l^anker as to 
the course lie sliould pursue. 

" Sorrowing and affectionate," considered 
Mr. Gay re, reading the announcement in 
the Times. " I daresay ! And now Sir 
Geoffrey Chelston, Baronet, who so deeply 
laments his dead wife, is eligible once 
again, what will he do witli this chance, 
I wonder?" 

Sir Geoffrey could have told him that 
the first thing he meant to do was to 
offer himself and title to Mrs. Jubbins ; 
but his role was to keep up the semblance 
of distracted grief for poor Margaret, and 
no man understood the beauty and wisdom 
of silence better than the bereaved 
husband. So far grief had returned him 
excellent interest. Mr. Wookes instantly 
placed, not merel}' tlie family vault, but 


also Chelston Pleasaimce, at his service. 
Mrs. Wookes, and the young person Sir 
Geoffrey with a deep sigh styled her 
"lovely daughter," were introduced to the 
worthy Baronet. Mr. Wookes spoke of 
him as "my afflicted friend," and he was 
earnestly requested to stop and partake 
of " some refreshment," which, under an 
immense delusion, he certainly would have 
done, had he not been compelled to hurry 
off to catch the afternoon express. 

"There are so many things to see to at 
such a time," he said ; and Mrs. Wookes 
sighed, " Ah, 3^es, there are ! " and Miss 
Wookes stared at him hard with wide- 
open colourless eyes : and Mr. Wookes 
insisted he and Mr. Gayre should come 
down the evening before the funeral and 
stay the night ; and " whenever you feel 
disposed to stop witli us, I can assure 
you. Sir Geoffrey, both Mrs. Wookes and 
myself will give you a hearty welcome," 

THE WIDOn'EE. 281 

added Mr. Wookes, who, though truly 
pious, would have welcomed Lucifer him- 
self had he come with a handle to his 

" I really do not know how to thank 
you sufficiently," answered Sir Geoffrey, 
in his best manner, which Mrs. Wookes 
often subsequently defined as " courtly," 
though she might have employed a 
different word had the Baronet been a 
tutor. " My daughter will be delighted 
when she hears I met with such a re- 
ception at her old home." 

"How is Miss Chelston ? " instantly 
inquired Mr. Wookes. 

" She is dreadfully cut up, poor thing, 
of course," explained Sir Geoffrey. " Still, 
she tries not to let me see all she 

Then Mr. Wookes, in a grand pompous 
voice, immediately said, " My dear ; " and 
Mrs. Wookes understanding observed, " Yes, 

282 S US AX 1)B L'MMOyn. 

I was just about to remark that if dear 
Miss Clielston thouoiit a chancre to so 
quiet a place woukl do her good, we should 
feel honoured by a visit ; " after which 
amenities, Sir GeofTrey took a hurried leave, 
and entered the conveyance waiting for him ; 
first, sotto voce, desiring the coachman to 
" drive to Chelston Station like the " 

There is no time probably which passes 
so slowly as that intervening between a 
death and a funeral, but at length the 
interval was well-nigh bridged over by a 
succession of weary hours ; and the evening 
arrived when Mr. Wookes was to be grati- 
fied with the presence of his " distinguished " 
guest and that guest's less distinguished 

"I hope they've some decent wine," said 
Mr. Geoffrey, as the gates swung wide to 
welcome the visitors. " He looks like an 
old boy who knows what's what, and the 
cellars here are first-rate." 


"It might liave been prudent to bring 
some cognac with you," suggested Mr. 
Gayre, with a fine sneer. 

" 0, I'll square the butler ! " answered 
Sir Geoffrey amiably ; and then he looked 
out of the carriage-window and shook his 
liead, and remarked his heart was well-nigh 
broken, by — , it was ! to think poor Mar- 
garet was not to be carried from the house 
which properly belonged to her. "It may 
Ijc partly my own fault. I was always too 
easy and generous, and never thought 
enough of myself; but, gad, that makes it 
no pleasanter to see a place like this owned 
by a fellow who made his money out of 
tallow, and to have to ask leave to bury 
my wife in my own vault, cap in hand, like 
a railway porter ; " which recital of mis- 
fortunes was ended by their arrival at the 
house, where Mr. Wookes in person appeared 
at the door to greet them, and to tell Mr. 
Gayre how delighted he felt to welcome 

284 '5 US AX BE UMMOND. 

any relation of his " esteemed friend Sir 
Geoffrey Chelston." 

" You'd like a cup of tea, perhaps, before 
you go up to dress," he said, with genial 
hospitality. " I ahvays find a cup of tea 
so refreshing after a railway journey. There 
was a time when I would haye proposed a 
glass of wine ; but we'ye changed all that 
— we are strict abstainers." 

"And so not merely yirtuous yourselyes, 
but the cause of yirtue in others," obseryed 
Mr. Gayre, scarcely able to repress a smile 
at the sight of his brother-in-law's discom- 
fiture. For a moment, indeed, Sir Geoffrey 
was too deeply indignant to speak; but he 
regained his presence of mind during the 
course of some didactic remarks from Mr. 
Wookes concerning the preyalence of drunk- 
enness, and the importance of the upper 
classes setting an example of temperance to 
the masses. 

"You are quite right, Mr. Wookes," 


agreed the Baronet, -^lio had already set 
his wits to work to consider how he could 
get some brandy " or — or anything, by 
Jove," from Chelston. " People do drink 
far too much — and eat to," added Sir 
Geoffrey as a happy after-thought, feeling 
he was clear of the vice of gluttony, at 
any rate. 

Mr. Wookes reddened. He liked to see 
a good table, and to partake plentifully of 
what he called " God's mercies " spread 
upon it. 

" As for eating," he observed, " though 
we cannot deny that it is a sin to indulge 
any appetite to excess, still I consider that 
a moderate pleasure in and use of the 
bounties so lavishly provided for our benefit 
are not crimes. You see, my dear sir," and 
he laid a fat pudgy hand affectionately on 
Sir Geoffrey's arm, " the difference is this — 
fish, flesh, and fowl, vegetables of all sorts, 
and sweets at discretion, do not cause 

286 S US AN Dli UMMOXn. 

(juarrelliiig and murders ; whereas spirits — 
and nnder tlie general head of spirits I in- 
chide all .sorts of wine — Wont you have 
a cup of tea?" he broke off to ask, feeling, 
perhaps, his arguments might seem a little 
lengthy to hungry and thirsty men. 

" Thank you ; I should like one greatly," 
answered Mr. Clayre. 

" And I'd like a o'lass of water'' declared 
the Baronet desperately, ''to lay the dust. 
My throat is as dry as a London street in 

" Ah ! that's because you are in such 
trouble," sympathetically said Mr. Wookes, 
who knew as well as possible Sir Geoffrey 
was one of the hardest drinkers in England, 
and who would have liked to offer him 
champagne had his new principles not been 
dearer to him even than a title. 

They were, indeed, as new as his posses- 
.sion of the Pleasaunce, and he had been 
frio'htened into them by the sudden decease 


of ii brother, who died, as one City wag- 
expressed the matter to another, " of for- 
getting to put any water in his grog." 

There is no Ligot like a convert (pervert 
Sir Geoffrey would liave said), and Mr. and 
Mrs. Wookes were ah^eady anxious to begin 
the holy labour of washing this Ethiop 
white. They belonged to the straitest sect : 
not a pint of beer was allowed about the 
premises ; dinners Avere cooked, and horses 
driven, and tables set, and fruit forced, 
and gardens kept in order on the strictest 
teetotal lines. The lodge-keepers drank 
nothing stronger than milk ("like babes 
and sucklings," said the Baronet after- 
wards, i]i accents of the deepest disgust); 
no labourers were employed who refused 
to give up malt liquor. Indeed, Mr. Wookes 
had drawn such a cordon of sobriety round 
his domain that vdien Sir Geoffrey, during 
the course of the evening, made an excuse 
for stealino' out, he found the verv beer- 


liouse in the little village hard by had been 
closed, and the premises converted into a 

" Well, I'm blanked ! " he thought ; and, 
making the best of a bad bargain, decided 
he would go back and render himself agree- 
able to " old mother " Wookes, and get 
something definite settled about Peggy's 
visit to The Pleasaunce. 

This was how he chanced to be " fasting 
from everything but sin," when he attended 
his wife's funeral, and shed those tears 
that excited the surprise and won the 
admiration of all beholders. 

*' Tell you what, Gayre," he said, as they 
returned together to London, " another day 
in that house would have killed me. It 
was inhuman too, under the circumstances 
— downright inhuman, and confoundedly 
impertinent into the bargain. A man has 
a right perhaps to play tricks with his own 
constitution, but he has no right to try to 


leave anotlier man witli no stomach to 
speak of. / shouldn't force a fellow who 
came to my house to drink agamst his will. 
Why should I be compelled to swallow 
Lj'allons of cold water? — bad as a drench, 
l^egad ! Why, 3^ou see yourself the effect 
it had upon me. Whatever I might feel — 
and, as a rule, people haven't thought I 
felt much — they were mistaken, though — I 
could control myself ; but I give you my 
word, Gayre, I am still as shaky as possi- 
ble. I could cry like a woman now. It 
was an awful ordeal ! But the poor dear, 
could she have seen, would, I think, have 
understood I bore no malice, and that I 
loved her to the last — I did, upon my 
soul ! " And the Baronet once again took 
to weeping so profusely his brother-in-law 
began anxiously to examine the time-table, 
to see how soon they might hope to reach 
a " civilized station," to quote Sir Geoffrey, 
" where stimulants could be procured." 

Vol. ii. 41 

290 S US Ay JDB UMMoyn. 

" I'm a fool," said tlie widower, wiping 
his red eyes, " an utter idiot ; but tlie whole 
thing; has been too much for me. I do 
think all the people behaved splendidly. 
Fancy, even old Dane coming — though, 
perhaps, that was as much to prove he 
didn't care about his o'randson being; in o-aol 
as to show respect to Margaret's memory." 

" He looks a dreadful old man," observed 
Mr. Gayre, wisely passing over his brother- 
in-law's final suggestion. 

"He looks what he is. Only to think of 
that poor young fellow having to break 
stones, or carry stones, or whatever it may 
be, for seven long years at Portland, and 
this old wretch gloating over the guineas 
he can't take out of the world with him, 
and that might have saved the lad ! Why 
such things should be allowed baffles me ! 
And that dear poor Susan coming down 
here to ask him to help get up a petition, 
or a memorial, or something of the sort, 


tind the wretch as good as shutting the 
door in her face ! Drummond told me 
about it at the station just now. Give von 
my word, I scarcely knew how to contain 

"What can you mean ? " asked Mr. Gayre ; 
^' What is !Miss Drummond doing ? " 

" As I understand, the solicitor who acted 
for young Dane told her if she got a whole 
lot of influential people to sign a paper, and 
forwarded it to one or other of the big wigs, 
she might get the sentence commuted. I 
don't believe a word of it myself; but 
still the notion may serve to comfort her 
a bit till the worst of the trouble had worn 
off. One thing, however, I am sure of — 
the girl oughtn't to be going about her- 
self asking for signatures. I wish I had 
time and money to take such a labour off 
her hands ; " and the Baronet looked hard 
at Mr. Gayre, who, after a few moments' 
silence, said, 



"I tliink I am the person to help Miss 
Drummond now." 

" You're the best fellow livino- Ga^Te ! " 
exclaimed Sir Geoffrey, giving his brother, 
in-law such a slap on the shoulder that 
the banker winced. " I always said it and 
I always thought it, spite of some few an- 
gularities — and which of us is perfect ? — 
you are the kindest, and the most generous, 
and the truest man in England." Having 
finished which peroration, as the train 
stopped, the Baronet jumped out of the 
compartment at the civilised station, and 
returned refreshed. 



|j|NSTEAD of formaUy offering tlie 
4j^ " assistance of liis experience " by 
letter, Mr. Clay re decided to call upon 
Miss Drnmmond, and actually got within 
twenty yards of tlie house at Shepherd's 
Bush, when he suddenly hesitated, turned 
and commenced retracing his steps. 

" What can it be ? " he thought. 
-' From the moment I first saw this girl 
a power stronger than myself seemed 
drawing me towards her ; and yet at the 
very same moment some spirit of ])re- 
science said, " if you allow your inclina- 
tions to lead you now, you will in the 
future repent having done so." It is odd, 

294 -S' rSAN DR UMMOND. 

very odd, at each turn of tlie affair a 
check or warning has met me ; and now, 
here again, ahnost with my foot on the 
doorstep, I feel I cannot meet her this 
mornino' — feel almost as thon^h I could 
wish we had never met. Her influence 
upon me too is not for good ; strange, be- 
cause she is all good ! If there be any 
lasting virtue to be extracted out of my 
scheming brother-in-law (which I doubt), 
she could extract it. Though Sudlow hates 
her, he thinks it necessary to be on his 
best behaviour when she is present. The 
fair Peo'o-y also is an atom more human, 
less affected, less straitlaced, altogether less 
unendurable when Susan makes one of 
the party. But, so f^ir as I am concerned, 
it is really only since I knew her I feel 
capable of treason, stratagem or spoil. If 
I could be sure of not beins^ found out 
I would rob mv neighbour, cheat my 
friend, commit a murder, and see an inno- 


cent man hanged for my deed, supposing 
any one of those acts would bring me 
closer to Susan. Then, when I married 
her, I should, I have no doubt, find she 
had all unconsciously brought the aveng- 
ing sword to church with her. I wonder 
whether all this is temptation? I am half 
inclined to think so ! For o-enerations we 
have been such a lot of respectable Phari- 
sees that no doubt it needed an angel to 
teach us we are only common clay, sub- 
ject to like temptations, &c. But hold ! 
Wliat about poor Margaret ? Is Sir 
Geoffrey an angel — was Sir Geoffrey ever 
an angel ? Here is a difficult conun- 
drum — Why do I feel myself a worse man 
since I have known Susan Drummond ? 
Is it because she is a good woman ? Pooh ! 
what will the end of all this be, I wonder? 
Will time solve the riddle ? I have a 
strong belief in the ability of time to 
solve most riddles, and — Ah, d'ye do, 

296 SUSjy BBUMMOyD. 

Sudlow ? wlio would have expected to 
meet yon liere ? " 

" I am often in this neighbourhood ; but 
you — " 

" Set out to call on Miss Drummond, 
and then changed ni}^ mind." 

" Indeed ! You would not have found 
her at home, however, if you had called." 

" ! " 

" She is staying at the Wigwam." 

" Is my niece there too ? " 

Mr. Sudlow shook his head. 

" Sir Geoffrey means to lunch with Mrs. 
Jubbins to-day." 

" Does he know Miss Drummond is at 
Chislehurst ? " 

" Of course ; it was he told me." 

Having successfully planted which thorn 
in the bankers bosom, Mr. Sudlow pro- 
ceeded on his way, pleased to have scored 
even so poor a trick. 

" He's jealous of his own shadow," con- 


sidered the careful young man. " If it 
wasn't tliat my lady would snub me so 
dreadfully, I'd have a turn at making love 
to her myself, in order to vex the Baronet 
and drive Ga}Te mad. Marry him ! The 
money is not in Lombard Street would 
buy her yet: and when the time comes 
that it might, our dear friend will have 
found out practically roses wither and 
liHes fade." 

" Sir Geoffrey will tell her she may de- 
pend on my help, and so spoil the whole 
effect," thought Mr. Gayre, with a feel- 
ing of savage disapi)ointment. " Well, 
things must take their chance now. I can 
onl}' wait results." 

He had not long; to wait. It was about 
a quarter to four on the same afternoon — 
the busiest part of a banker's day, only 
Mr. Gayre was not busy — when a clerk 
took a card into that gentleman's private 
office, intimating at the same time the lady 

298 S US AX DB UMMOXl). 

whose name it bore " would like to speak 
to liim." 

Mr. Gayre's first impulse was to rise 
and rush out to greet this unexpected 
visitor ; but prudence prevailed, and in 
his coldest business tone he desired that 
Miss Drummond mioiit be asked to walk 

Then he waited — waited till he heard 
the rustle of Susan's dress, as she drew 
nearer and nearer ; waited till the door 
opened, and he heard the clerk's warning 
to beware of that step, which so often 
caused a customer or possible client to 
enter the sacred apartment with an un- 
dignified stumble. Then he rose ; he 
could refrain no longer. 

" Pray be careful, Miss Drummond," he 
said ; " that step is so very awkward. I 
must really have it altered." And then 
it flashed through his mind, if Susan 
would only promise to marry him, he 


might, even at so late a period of his 
Ufe, alter manv thino-s, beoinniiio' with him- 
self, for example. 

That was, indeed, a moment to be 
marked with a white stone in the bankers 
memory. The woman he loved stood tliere 
looking with her soft brown eyes, from 
which the remembered sunshine had de- 
parted, up into his face, with a sort of 
timid appeal that wrung a heart not over 
.susceptible to the troubles of others. She 
had come to him voluntarily for help. It 
was the beoinnino- of the end. It was for 
this he had turned back almost from the 
threshold of her home. That which he 
so foolishly construed into a warning 
proved to be an omen for good — an omen 
already fulfilled. 

" I fear," she began — and there was a 
hesitation in her manner he had never 
previously seen in it — " I fear I am intrud- 
ing, Mr. Gayre. I walked twice up and 

300 .S USA y DR UMMOND. 

down Lombard Street before I could sum- 
mon sufficient courage to ask for you." 

He did not answer this remark for a 
moment. The contrast between the girl, 
strong in her fearless innocence, he had 
sauntered with on that memorable night 
beneath the stars at Chislehurst and this 
stricken Susan, who had since faced the 
then intangible e^'il she vaguely felt was 
advancing to meet her, seemed to him so 
cruel he could not find words in which to 
clothe his pity. 

When he did speak it was lightly. 

" Strange to say, I went almost to Miss 
Matthews' door this morning, intending to 
call U23on you ; but then I turned back, 
fearin<? to intrude — " 

" I am not witli Miss Matthews now." 

" Xo, so I understand ; but I was unaware 
vou had oone to Chislehurst till I heard 
from Mr. Sudlow you were staying at the 
Wig'wam. ■ 


" I shall only be tliere till to-morrow. 
I have taken lodgmgs at Islmgton." 

" At Islington ! Why ? Forgive me ; 
of course I have no right to ask." 

" Certainly you have every right. You 
want to know why I left Miss Matthews. 
We disagreed — about Oliver. I could not 
bear it — I could not. Everybody is sorry 
for me ; but nobody is sorry for him. Now 
I don't want people to be sorry for me." 

" No one could help being sorry for you," 
said the banker, gently. 

She looked at him for an instant question- 
ingiy ; then tears welled up into her eyes, 
and she turned her head aside as she said, 

" I have come to ask you to help me, Mr. 
Gay re. It is very bold of me, perhaps, 

" I went to Shepherd's Bush this morning 
to know if you would not let me try to help 

" How could you know I wanted help ? " 


" Sir Geoffrey told me. He said you 
were endeavouring to get some petition 
.signed. That is so, is it not ? " 

"Yes. And 0, Mr. Gayre, if you will 
only put me in tlie way of getting the right 
people to sign it, I shall be unutterably 

" Anything I can do for you, be sure I 
will do." 

"Thank you! — I feel certain of that. 
And you won't advise me ; I am so tired of 
being advised — so weary of liearing I ought 
to sit down and fold ni}^ hands and do 
nothing, while he — is — and we were all the 
world to one aiiother ! " 

" I shall not advise you," said Mr. Gayre, 
who felt no inclination to minoie his tears 
with the girl over the woes of Ohver Dane. 
*' Only tell me what you are doing — what 
you want done^and I will assist you to the 
best of m}^ ability." 

" How kind you are ! " she cried — " how 


good ! I will try to explain how it all 
came about. But I fear I am taking up 
your time. You are busy, are you not P I 
had better write to you — may I P 

"Might I not call upon you, Miss Drum- 
mond ? I shall be most happy to do so, 
if you name an hour conye]iient to your- 

" A)u/ hour," answered Susan — '* any hour 
which suits you. I do feel grateful, though 
I cannot express my gratitude. How can I 
eyer be thankful enough to God for raising 
up such a friend for me in my extremity r ' 
Wliich, being a (juestion Mr. Gayre, under 
the most fayourable circumstances, could 
scarcely haye been expected to answer, he 
prudently affected not to hear. 

" I may be fortunate enough to see you 
at Chisleliurst this eyening," he said, instead 
of solying that difficult problem as to 
whether Miss Drummond, if she could read 
his heart, might regard his friendship in 



the liglit of an unmixed blessing. " I was 
thinking of calling at Tlie Wigwam. Then, 
perhaps you will kindly give me your 
address, and let me know when I should be 
most certain to find you at home." 

" But please do not mention the matter 
before Mrs. Jubbins," entreated Susan. " She 
does not say anything, but I know she is 
like ever}^ one else." 

" Surely not every one ! There are ex- 

"Yes, I forgot. Sir Geoffrey, of course — 
kind good Sir Geoffrey." 

"Won't you bracket us together. Miss 
Drummond ? " 

She looked at him searchingiy for a 
moment before she asked, 

"Do you believe Oliver to be innocent, 
then ? " 

The question was put with such direct 
suddenness that Mr. Gayre found it difficult 
to parry. 


"It is not easy to believe him innocent," 
lie answered ; " but- — pray do not mis- 
understand me, Miss Drummond — I do not 
say lie is guilty. Appearances are often 
against a man ; and this is a case in which I, 
for one, should not care to express a positive 
opinion. Of one thing, however, I am 
certain — that, whether the verdict were 
righteous or unrighteous, the sentence was 
utterly beyond the offence ; and, without 
going into the question of guilt or innocence, 
I will do all I can to help you and him. 
You must not be angry with me," added the 
banker apologetically, " because I have not 
the same faith in Mr. Dane you possess. 
Eemember, I never was intimate with him 
in the shghtest degree — " 

•' That is true," she murmured ; " had you 
known you could not have doubted him." 

"Besides," said Mr. Gayre, finishing his 
interrupted sentence, " I have seen some- 
thing of the world, and understand how 

Vol. ii. 42 


temptation assails, and often overcomes, 
even tlie very best amongst ns." 

" It did not overcome him," declared 

" Then on your word I am to believe Mr. 
Dane sinned against,) not sinning : is that 

" If you can." 

"I will do precisely what you tell me, 
I consider myself a soldier under orders, 
and shall hold no personal opinions what- 
ever. I think I had better let you out by 
this private door. You would of course 
rather avoid passing through the bank. 
Good-bye for the present. Miss Drummond 
— no, please, don't thank me. If we meet at 
The Wigwam perhaps it might be more 
prudent to say nothing about }'our havings 
been here. Once more, good-bye ; depend 
I wiU do all in my power for your friend." 

And in another second Susan was once 
asfain in Lombard Street, with the old dull 


pain tugging at her heart, spite of the faith 
she had in ]Mr. Gayre's power to help young 
Dane, and the certainty she felt he would 
try to do so. 

"But 0, he cannot be of the use he 
might if lie only believed in my darling ! " 
she considered. 

When, some two hours later, Mr. Gayre 
arrived at Chislehurst it was scarcely agree- 
able to find Sir Geoffrey acting as Mentor 
to the youth of the family, who were 
listening to his improving stories with 
enthusiasm, and encoring reminiscences of 
flood and field in a manner which should 
have been gratifying to the Baronet. 

" She can't bear these old tales now," said 
Sir Geoffrey, sotto voce, to his brother-in-law, 
indicating Susan, who was seated apart in 
the larger drawing-room ; " but she'll mend 
of that, poor soul. It has been worse than 
a death to her. You must give her time, 
Gayre — give her time." 



" Good Heavens ! have I ever interfered 
with her in any way?" asked the banker. 

" No, no ; I didn't mean that. Only 
verhum sap.^ a nod's as good as a wink, you 
know, and I really do love Susan like my 
own child." 

" And what was done to the mare that 
broke her leg, when old Carey would take 
him over the bullfinch. Sir Geoffrey ? " in- 
quired one of the younger Jubbins. 

" Shot, Joshua — dead as a doornail. A 
rough sort of fellow, Poaching Bill he was 
called, happened to come up at the minute, 
and we sent him for a pistol to put the poor 
brute out of his miser}' . Give you my word 
there was not a dry eye in the field, except 
old Carey's. ' I said I'd teach her who 
was master,' declared the gray-haired 
ruffian, 'and I did it.'" 

"If you had broken your own neck it 
wouldn't have mattered," I remarked ; " but 
by — , sir, you've killed the finest mare in 


tlie county, and if the other gentlemen 
present are of my mind, you may hunt the 
county by yourself for the future. Fair 
riding is one thing, and fair punishment is 
one thing ; but brutality's another, and 
Geoffrey Chelston will never eat bread nor 
shake hands with a man who has done a 
gallant animal to death, as you've tortured 
one this day." 

"And did he hunt the county by himself?" 
asked the pertinacious Joshua. 

" No, my lad ; he went to another county, 
where they would have none of him either. 
The story followed him — I took precious 
good care it should — and so, at last, the 
talk and disgrace broke his own heart. His 
dying words, I understand, were, "Curse 
Chelston ! " but I didn't care for that. I 
always say, if you do right, no man's bad 
opinion need trouble you. And now, you 
see, Carey's in his grave, and I'm telling the 
story of his wicked cruelty to a set of boys 


who ouo'lit to know liow to ^o across 
country as well as I do. If you'll persuade 
your mother to let you come down and see 
me at Chelston — But there, what am I 
talking about ? Well, well, though I haven't 
The Pleasaiince any longer, you ought to 
know how to take your fences. There's 
Gayre, now ; d'ye suppose lie's a bit worse 
banker because he's as straight a rider as 
you'd wish to see? Gad, Nicholas, shall I 
ever foro-et seeino- that wild Irish devil — 
that chestnut mare, Leda, I mean — take you 
first over the ha-ha, with only one foot in 
your stirrups, and then across the Cliel, 
before you were fairly settled in your saddle ? 
By Jove, it was as fine a bit of horsemanship 
as ever came in my way ! She took the 
notion in her head and went for it ; and 
there was Margaret screaming, and the 
grooms running, and I expecting you'd be 
brought back dead; and then you just 
turned the creature's pretty head — Lord, 


what a tiling memory is ! I seem to liave 
tliat star on lier foreliead before my eyes 
this minute — and brought her l)ack the way 
she had gone, gentle as a lamb." 

With which, and suchlike pleasing and 
instructive anecdotes, the Baronet held the 
youthful Jubbins entranced during the com- 
pulsory absence of their mamma, who, in 
honour of Sir Geoffrey's presence, had 
proceeded to her room, in order to don a 
more elaborate dinner-dress. 

The feeling Mrs. Jubbins entertained 
towards the brothers-in-law was, to a certain 
extent, contradictory. Wliilst Mr. Gayre 
remained the love of her heart, she felt a 
pride concerning the easy and familiar terms 
on which Sir Geoffrey honoured The Wigwam 
with his presence she did not even try to 
disguise. The names of great persons '^ve^y 
to be as common on her lips as in the 
columns of the Court Journal. She repeated 
anecdotes of the nobility to her friends on 


tlie autliority of tlie Baronet, wliicli were 
not really more untruthful than such anec- 
dotes usually are. The private history and 
daily life of no peer of the realm remained 
a sealed book to her. Thanks to good Sir 
Geoffrey, she was an fait with everything* 
which occurred at Windsor and Balmoral. 
slie felt that a visit even from the Prince of 
Wales would not quite have overwhelmed 
her. She had heard how his Eoyal Highness 
was in the habit of oreetins" her friend at 
Ascot with " Geoffrey, my boy," and " Chel- 
ston, old fellow," and asking his advice 
concerning which horse the Princess should 
back for a dozen of gloves. As for the 
younger Jubbins, they were simply rapturous 
on the subject of Sir Geoffrey. 

In his charming way he had pinched the 
girls' cheeks, and declared they were " deyv'l- 
ish good-looking," " pretty little things," 
" that when they went to Court they would 
put some persons noses out, begad! " with a 


<>ood deal more to the same edifying 

He got a pony on which Miss Ida could 
canter as easily as if she was sitting in an 
armchair in her mother's drawing-room, and 
himself accompanied that yonng lady while 
she ambled along the Kentish lanes. He 
sent Lavender frequently to The Wigwam, 
so that the smaller frv mio-ht under his 
auspices learn to fall easy on the velvet 
turf once pressed by tlie august feet of Lady 
Merioneth. He told the lads stories of his 
own exploits and the exploits of other 
worthies like himself, and promised that 
when lie " pulled his affairs together a bit " 
he " would make men of them." He pro- 
posed furnishing a sort of armoury at Lord 
riint's former abode, which excellent idea had, 
liowever, to be abandoned in consequence 
of Mrs. Jubbins' nervous terror of firearms. 

" Why, my dear soul," he said to that lady, 
" if vou'd onlv let me take vou in hand, I'd 

314 '■> I'SAX DR UMMOXI). 

engage you slioiild in a month liit at a 
hundred yards/' 

'• I never said what she'd hit," he confided 
to liis brother-in-law ; " but it did not matter 
])ecause she thinks everything with a muzzle 
can bite, and is deadly afraid even of a toy 
pistol. Those big women always are cowards 
— ever notice that ? Courage decreases as 
fat is laid on — fact, I assure you." 

In a sentence, then, the Baronet had 
secured the favour of the whole establish- 
ment. With the men and women servants 
his rank and agreeable manners made him, 
as a matter of course, prime favourite. Xo 
standing aloof with him. 

" About people of real good birth there is 
never no nasty low sort of pride," declared 
the united voice of the servants' hall. 

Even the cattle within ]Mrs. Jubbins' iiates 
evinced a discriminating partiality for so 
worthy a gentleman. 

'' They're like children, bless you," he said, 


to Mr.s. Jiibbiii.s, in kindly explanation. 
" Tliey know wlio is fond of tlieni. ^^liy, 
look at your young folks ! (Gad I who'd 
think 3'ou were old enough to be their 
mother ?) They'll leave any of your rich 
friends, your Citv niaiiiiates rolling- in money, 
to come and stroll about with me, poor as I 
am. They respect Xicholas Gayre, Banker, 
but they like Geoffrey Chelston, Be^-oar — 
that's about it." 

Concerning his wife, Geoffrey Chelston, 
Beggar, had fairly mystified Mrs. Jubbins. 
In broken accents he had formerly told how 
a reconciliation was imminent ; how he had 
been a yery bad boy, who meant now to turn 
oyer a new leaf — upon his soul he did ; how 
Gayre was the best fellow living ; how Mar- 
garet could be regarded but as little lower 
than the angels ; what a wretch he had been 
to the best woman who ever lived ; with a 
great deal more to the same effect, which 
often caused the widow to wonder if that 

3i6 SUSAX BFlWMOyjj. 

oTeat trouble which bowed old Mr. Gavre's 
gray head, and left Sir Geoffrey's Httle 
daughter motherless, had been all a dream. 

In their first shame and misery the Gayres 
were unaljle to hide the sorrow which had 
fallen on them within their own breasts ; but 
now, to hear Sir Geoffrey, any one might 
liaye thouoht all the sin and scandal were of 
his own making. 

" He is certainly most magnanimous," said 
the widow, to Mr. Gayre. 

" Most magnanimous ! *' agreed the banker, 
with an irony perfectly unintelhgible to Mrs. 
Jubbins. " He is quite willing to let bygones 
be bygones ; so is Margaret, and so am 

" I think it may proye a comfort to the 
poor girl to ha ye some old friend to whom 
she can speak," explained the Baronet, to his 
brother-in-law. " The Jubbins is not much, 
to be sure ; but she means well and is 
faithful, and will serye better at first tlian 


nobody. Ton my honour, Gayre, I like 
the widow ; for her rank, indeed for any 
rank, .she is a most excellent sort of 

She was indeed so excellent a sort of 
person. Sir Geoffrey thought, after his wife's 
death, he could not do better than confide 
a few of the many troubles besetting him to 
her. " And now the poor dear's gone and 
all that's knocked on the head, and the link 
which bound Gayre to us is broken, what is 
to l^ecome of Peggy God only knows. As 
for me it does not matter ; I can make shift 
anywhere. Great happiness has never come 
to me, and I needn't expect happiness now. 
I did look forward to some peace and quiet- 
ness with ^Margaret ; l)ut she has gone to 
that bourne — you have read Hamlet, of 
course, Mrs. Jubbins ? " 

Mrs. Jubbins said she had seen it acted, 
and that she felt very sorry for Ophelia. 
Upon the whole, the Baronet gathered, she 

3 1 8 >S' US AX DR UMMOSD. 

considered Hamlet ratlier a foolish young 
man, and liis mamma a most dreadful and 
wicked person. 

" Only think of the unprincipled creature 
marrying again in that way ! " she remarked. 

" Only think of people marrying again 
in any way ! " capped the Baronet ; " I 
couldn't, I know. That is a point I have 
always admired especially about you, Mrs. 
Jubbins. It is not often one meets a woman 
young, rich, handsome, calculated to adorn 
society, resolute as you are to wear the 
willow, even for the best husband that ever 

" Ah, but where would you find so good a 
husband as mine was P " sighed the widow. 

" Xowhere — nowhere," promptly agreed 
Sir Geoffrey. " I have heard things from 
Gavre about your husband that make me 
lament I did not know him." And then the 
Baronet, after accepting an invitation to stop 
for dinner, walked off to find some of his 

A DOG ly THE MjyGEB. 319 

young friends ; while Mrs. Jubbins hastened 
away to change her dress, considering, as 
she did so, that poor dear Mr. J. always did 
like her to " look her best." 

But for Sir Geoffrey, the dinner would 
have passed off very heavily. He, however, 
proved the life of the party. 

" A most agreeable gentleman," said Hos- 
kins, as he descended to the basement, " as 
I am sure I shall always be the first to admit. 
K'evertheless — " 

" Nevertheless what ? " demanded Mrs. 
Jubbins' own maid. 

" Things aren't what they was," observed 
Mr. Hoskins, oracularly. " The position is 
changed, if I may so express myself. The 
events of the last fortnight has altered the 
relations of parties. We can't stand still, 
Miss Lambton." 

" That's true enough," agreed the cook. 
" If wages ain't rising they're falhng, which 
I will maintain to my dying day." 

320 .S' US AN DR UMMOyi). 

" Well, and if we can't stand still, what 
then ? " asked Miss Lambton. 

Mr. Hoskins closed one eye with decorons 
solemnity ere answering. 

" Least said soonest mended. Though I 
have a high opinion of a gentleman who 
shall be nameless, his manners being agree- 
able, his taste in wine as good as my own, 
and himself open-handed, I do not altogether 
know that it is a match to which I could 
give an unqualified approval. There is 
wheels within wheels. Miss Lambton ; and I 
have heard a word or two drop which might 
render caution necessary." 

" Get along with you, do ! " expostulated 
the cook. " Missus ain't going to make a 
fool of herself, though other people may 
choose to make fools of themselves ; " which 
was a very unkind allusion to the fact that 
Mr. Hoskins meant, ere long, to take Miss 
Lambton and a public-house, both for better 
or w ^e, and leave '' a good place, where he 


had nobody to trouble liim, for a wife wlio 

did not know liow to cook a potato and 

a landlord certain to call for his rent 


At that very instant the genial Baronet, 

who during the whole of dinner-time had 

been on his very best behaviour, was sayinij; 

to Mrs. Jubbins' sons, 

" Look here, my lads I I promised your 

mother I would not let you sit long over 

dessert ; and, as I don't want to lose any of 

your agreeable company, why, we'll all make 

a move. One minute, Gayre," he added, as 

his brother-in-law, acting on the hint, rose all 

too willingly ; " I have a word for your 

private ear. Let the young fellows go. 

We'll be after you immediately." 

And then the dining-room door closed ; 

and, literally in the twinkling of an eye, Sir 

Geoffrey had poured out and swallowed a 

bumper of sound Madeira. 

" It's a sin to put a wine like that c ^e 
Vol. ii. 43 


table wlien there's no one to drink it but 
women and boys, wlio would just as soon 
have a sweet sherry. But that's not what 
I kept you back for — it's not, upon my 
conscience. I wanted to tell you I saw 
Susan slip into your Bank to-day. Nay, 
never fire up, man ; surely sight is as free as 
the street ; and, indeed, I was glad to see tlie 
poor little soul had turned to you in her 
trouble. I meant to tell her she'd nothing 
to do in this case but ask and have ; but the 
chance did not offer. So, as I was saying, I 
saw her pop up your steps just like a hunted 
hare. But Mum's the word as regards me ; 
and, were I in your place. Mum should be 
the word too." 

" I have not a notion what you are driv- 
ing at, "exclaimed Mr. Gayre, testily. " Why 
can't you say what you have got to say 
in plain English, and be done with it ? " 

" ! hang me, that's too good ! " laughed 
the Baronet, at the same time, as if in 


very excess of mirtli, jocundly seizing tlie 
Madeira decanter, and filling out another 
bumper. " Do you know, Gayre," lie went 
on, "I have heard some fool advance the 
opinion that the more a man drinks the 
less he understands about wine. Did you 
ever hear such rubbish? Why, the more 
a man drinks, of course, the better judge 
he becomes. Practice makes perfect. I 
don't suppose even you grasped the whole 
science and mystery of money-changing at 
the first intention." 

'' That is a matter into which I really 
must decline to enter at present. Mrs. 
Jubbins will be wondering what is detain- 
ing us." 

" I'll explain that I had to speak to you 
on a matter of business — and so I have. 
Don't you talk about Susan or Susan's 
affairs to the widow. She's an excellent 
person, no doubt — I'm sure I have no cause 
to say one word against her ; but in all 

324 -S US AS BR UMMOyB. 

these City folks there's a deuced hard ker- 
nel ; and she wouldn't approve, and she'd 
launch out on poor dear Susan, and she'd 
advise and preach and talk against Dane ; 
and then they'd quarrel, and Susan would 
close another door between herself and her 
friends. She's just in the humour to fight 
anybody for the sake of Dane ; and, Lord, 
what use is it ? By the way, why don't 
you marry her ? " 

" What do you mean ? Marry whom ? " 

" The widow, to be sure." 

" You misrht as well ask me whv I don't 
fly to the moon ; the one inquiry is about 
as reasonable as the other." 

"Don't think so. In the first place, you 
don't want to fly to the moon ; in the next, 
you couldn't fly there if you wished ever so 
much. Now, you could marry the widow, 
and you have led lier to believe you meant 
to do so." 

"I utterly deny it." 


" Tliat is all very well ; but slie expects 
YOU to ask her, and so do lier friends. As 
far as I am a judge, tliey are only waiting 
for tlie word." 

" Surely I am not answerable for tlieir 

" Yes, you are — to a great extent at any 
rate. Unless a man means business lie has 
no right to fool around a house in which 
there is an eligible woman, as you have 
been circling about The Warren. Gad ! if 
I'd been lier brother, I'd have had something 
definite out of you long ago. And when 
all that is settled, why the deuce shouldn't 
you marry her ? She is as well born as 
you — both of you are the children of re- 
spectable citizens. If her father did go 
wrong, your father might have gone wrong. 
Heavens ! which of us has a right to throw 
stones ? I don't know how rich you may 
be, but she is rich enough in all conscience 
even for a lord to marry ; and if you took 

326 SrSAX BBUMMOyi). 

a house in some neiglibourlioocl away from 
that vile City connection, and gradually got 
rid of the young fry — perhaps put one of 
the sons in tlie bank — and made a quite 
fresh start in the country, I feel confident 
you mio'ht "'et amonsfst the best county 
people. It's neyer too late to mend ! and 
if I Ayere you I'd try to haye some yalue 
for ni}^ money eyen at the eleyenth hour 
— I would, upon m}' soul ! The widow is 
certainly both personable and presentable. 
I'ye seen worse driviuo- to a Drawiniy-rcom. 
Besides — " 

" It is really exceedingly kind of you to 
take such an unselfish interest in my affairs, 
but — " Mr. Gayre tried to interrupt. 

" Unselfish I Xot a bit of it, as you'll 
know when you let me finish what I was 
going to say. There's Peggy, now. If you 
married the widow, see what a home there 
would be for her — that is if you liked to 
ask her to the house." 


" She and Mrs. Jubbins don't exacth^ liit 
matters off," observed Mr. Gayre, maliciously. 

" That's true at the present moment ; but 
if Mrs. Jubbins were Mrs. Gayre, you'd see 
she'd take even to Peg to please Peg's 
uncle. 'Pon my soul, Gayre, the woman 
worships you — that's the plain state of the 
case ; and whv, for verv o'ratitude's sake, 
you don't make her your wife passes my 
comprehension. It's not as if there were 
anybody else." 

" Xo, it is not as though there were any- 
bodv else," a^Teed Mr. Gavre, in a suirit of 
the bitterest sarcasm. 

" And then think of all the good you may 
do. Why, to go no further, you'd be able 
to offer poor Susan a rest for the sole of 
her foot — " 

" Better at once start an Asylum for 
the Fatherless and Afflicted," suggested the 

" You might do worse," said Sir Geoffrey, 


who had by this time emptied the decanter. 
^- What greater happiness can a man desire 
than the welfare of his fellow- creatures ? 
That is a point you rich fellows are some- 
what apt to overlook ; and yet what is the 
use of money unless you can do some 
good with it ? For my own part, if I were 
well off — which, of course, I never expect 
to be now — I'd at once begin to consider 
how I could best spend part of my wealtJi 
as a sort of thank-offering — • you under- 

"If you have quite finished your remarks, 
as you have the Madeira," said Mr. Gayre, 
"I should wish to make one observation." 

" One, my dear fellow ! A dozen, if you 
like ; I am in no hurry." 

" But I am," retorted Sir Geoffrey's " dear 
fellow." " What I wish to say is this : I 
have not, and I never had, the smallest 
intention of marrying Mrs. Jubbins." 

"Honour bright?" 


" And what is more," persisted Mr. Gayre, 
ignoring the inipUed form of asseveration, 
" I don't mean you to marry her either." 

'' I wonder what you take me for ! " cried 
the Baronet, in indignant expostulation — 
'' with my heart still bleeding for the loss 
of my poor darling ! Ah, Gayre, how can 
you say such things ? Why, the flowers on 
Margaret's coffin must still be fresh." 

"• If that is a question pressing upon your 
mind, you may be very sure they are as 
dead as she is," answered Mr. Gayre ; " and 
for the rest, remember what L say — you 
shall not marry Mrs. Jubbins." 

"• Well, if ever there was a dog in the 
manger ! " muttered Sir Geoffi:ey, as he fol- 
lowed his brother-in-law along the corridor. 




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